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Intimidate or Empower?
30 July 2015

The answer to that question is very easy – do not intimidate!  Intimidation is the weapon of bullies and bullying in the workplace or anywhere, is totally unacceptable.

Leaders do not intimidate, they don’t have to.  They inspire, encourage, uplift and empower – that is what makes them leaders.

Whoever thinks intimidation is a good thing, belongs back in the day of Attila the Hun.

There are too many challenges and changes in an environment driven by technology to do something as negative as intimidate someone to do their job.

A positive culture starts at the top, with the executives and it is every manager’s duty to pass the positivity down among all levels.  If a colleague is suspected of intimidating behaviour then it should be addressed either by a peer or their line manager, with a clear message that it stops or they clear out.

Every business faces stiffer competition in today’s economy and a business is doomed to fail if staff are not encouraged to do their best and empowered to be their best.  Praise will always win over disapproval and criticism can be constructive if delivered correctly.

How do you empower staff?  First, treat them the way you, yourself, like to be treated – with respect. blackboard Allow staff to make decisions and make sure they know they have the ability to do so, with well-defined guide lines, spending a million dollars on new infrastructure just won’t cut it but within a budget limit, go for it.  Mistakes will be made, we all make them, at any level but we can learn from them and when mistakes are made, it is an opportunity to talk through, for guidance and encouragement to give it another go.

Being empowered usually results in people using their initiative, being proactive and solving problems.  Great new ideas can result.

Recognition of a job well done, a thank you, it doesn’t have to be a material thing but praise at team meetings, participating in higher level projects and yes a formal letter or plaque still gives a buzz.  Then there is the day off, lunch with the boss…

Provide a good example, walk the walk and others will do as you do.  With leadership comes responsibility and one responsibility is to be someone others wish to emulate.  If that sounds too hard and too lofty, perhaps you should rethink your own role.

As a CIO, the empowerment has another perspective.  Take the mystery away from technology, make it easier for colleagues to understand the technology, how it should be used and its benefits.  Making technology more accessible, enabling staff to perform their roles more efficiently has benefits for the organisation as a whole.

In general we are all more technology savvy, as technology has become an integral part of everyday life, so we are less easily intimidated by jargon and techno-speak, so it just won’t work anymore.  Better to have open, positive conversations, reach an understanding, now that is empowerment.