Leading by Empowering Others

· by Stacy Baughman

Stacy is our Manager of Quality. She joined the team in 2012 and has spearheaded our Operational Excellence initiative.
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Why a Leadership Team built on the foundation of empowering others could take your company to the next level

What sets a company apart from its competitors?  What leads customers to view a vendor as a true partner-as more than just a supplier of a product?  Strong leadership and solid supporting teams.  But what does that mean?  How do we get there and why is it so important?  I believe the answer lies in one word: empowerment.

A company will never have strong direction and a solid foundation without strong leaders.  There is a difference between managers and leaders.  A leader is trusted, steady, and highly regarded by all.  A leader does not always have a manager title and not all managers are leaders.  Build an organization filled with leaders. Specifically, the kind of leaders who believe that their greatest strength and most powerful driver is empowering those around them– colleagues,  customers, and direct reports. Teach this concept to your employees from day one: this company’s strongest leaders are those who empower others.

Empowering others consists of 3 core pieces:

  1. Listen in order to understand.

    People do not easily trust someone who they do not feel understands them and what they do.  Empower employees to have confidence in their own voice and not to fear speaking up, knowing that their thoughts are heard.    Empower customers to feel confident that your organization deeply values and welcomes their feedback.

  2. Drive the company forward through the input you receive from listening.

    Listening to employee and customer input creates a powerful platform for change.  What makes it powerful? Buy in.  Employees and customers are more likely to buy in to a new idea or a change in process if they had a say in creating it, influencing it, or, at the very least, feel that it was developed because leadership understands them.

  3. Give your employees and customers the tools that they need to be as independent as possible.

    For employees, this means strong training programs, good documentation of processes, clear metrics to ensure an understanding of what success looks like in their role, and strong education on interdepartmental relationships and problem solving.  These things will also allow your new leaders to emerge more clearly.  For customers, this means regular communication—transparency in metrics, regular check ins, and a formalized customer quality survey process.  By providing all of these things, a customer needs to follow up less, question less, and has more confidence that your company is doing what was promised.  Dependency in a customer relationship can be bad if it manifests in the customer constantly having to follow up or ask for information. It’s critical to realize this isn’t them needing you, it’s you not empowering them to be an independent partner!

A company of leaders who believe the empowerment of their teams and customers is fundamental to success undoubtedly stands out. This is what will set your company apart and open the door to possibilities only viable with people who believe in what they are doing and partner with companies who believe in them too.


“A leader is great not because of his or her power, but because of his or her ability to empower others.” – John Maxwell