The Law of Empowerment

Power is the ability to do something. Empowerment is about handing someone else that ability.
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Reflections on John C. Maxwell’s “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”

What is Empowerment?

Empowering someone means that you are willing to take responsibility for their inevitable failure, all for the sake of learning and growth.
Empowerment then is about trust. It would help if you trusted your employees to be responsible, and they must believe that you will support them when they make a mistake.

As much as we would love to handle everything on our own, leading a team is about slowly giving up that power. When you start a business, you end up having all of the power, but you can’t be successful too long like this. You have to give up control of what you love for the sake of your project’s success. It’s like a child. You coddle your son for as long as you can until one day, he says, “Let me do it on my own.” You can’t get upset when he fails to complete the puzzle or even becomes frustrated with it himself. He has to learn to appreciate the journey of solving the problem on his own. You can be there and enjoy it with him, but eventually, you will have to walk away and empower him to complete it.


Truly great leaders know how to empower their team. For example, former CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, knew when it was time to empower someone else to make Starbucks China successful. He had tried putting other leaders in charge who were from the United States but failed to turn a profit for nine years. It wasn’t until he decided to hand over this power to another, current CEO of Starbucks China Belinda Wong, did the coffee giant begin opening one store a day in that country.

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