As a leader, do you focus on motivating your team or empowering them? There is a difference.
Motivation is, in many cases, a temporary attitude that one must take on. It is an action-oriented state of being. When you motivate others, you are most often asking them to do something; namely, to get results. In other words, you are working within the scope of what is measurable.
As a direct result, motivation can be fleeting and impermanent. Motivation, in most cases, is a power-driven charge that quickly wears off. It is difficult to sustain long-term because motivation does not necessarily create a lasting transformation in others. There are exceptions, of course – but most people do not exist in a state of permanent motivation.
When we consider leadership at the very highest level, we witness how leaders can inspire complete transformations of thought. One iconic and well-known example from the world stage: after Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, collective consciousness was transformed. This sort of leadership is based on empowerment, not motivation. Empowerment inspires a shift in consciousness.
There are direct parallels for entrepreneurs leading a team. If you are a business leader, it’s worthwhile to get beyond mere surface level motivation for your employees – raises, titles, perks. It’s a better long-term plan to inspire and lead by empowerment.
Leading by empowerment means planting a seed of thought, cultivating it and watching it grow. Empowerment is, at its most effective, both a way of living and also a shift in consciousness.
To truly empower others, you need to operate from your own deeper principles. Your principles will act as a compass and when you live by them, and lead by them, your team be empowered at a fundamental level. In the best case scenario, you may find over time that your expectations and principles become internalized by your staff and they perform their duties spontaneously, without the need for as much supervision as was previously necessary.
When truly empowered, one cannot help but act. Empowerment is a force that propels us forward and truly effective leadership is what sets it in motion.