“I don’t delegate, I empower.” The mantra of the modern enabling manager.
I don’t disagree. Though caveat emptor. The delegation, empowerment spectrum is intricate business.
Feed a newbie sales person to a lion. They’re going to have their head chewed off by the clients. Without support, they will drown before they learn how to swim. They will feel abandoned, and quit.
To somebody midway up there, you might tell them:
“Go get ’em tiger, I’m empowering you!…
…But remember, I’m holding you accountable for results.”
Some may appreciate the tough love. Others may not – they may feel dumped on, not respected.
Empowerment is a contract. It’s different from delegation. Empowerment is a full and free ask for “I need your help.” Delegation is a non-contractual form of “I need your help” – not a full and free ask.
And to the highly competent individual: demonstrate your trust by contracting them with genuine empowerment, and a rock-star is born. Otherwise you’ve got a sulking diva.
Grow them all, with the right amount of support. That’s what leaders do.