Executive Leadership: Empowerment Without Discipline is a “Dangerous Road Ahead”

Executive Leadership Mentoring

It never ceases to amaze me when I see on a news report that another car and its driver have been swept away in a flooded road situation because they simply ignored the do not enter signs, drove around the barrier and were taken away by the fast moving flood currents. I can’t help but wonder if they believed that the signs were for everybody but them! As a licensed driver, they are clearly empowered to drive up to the barrier but without the discipline to read and obey the sign, they have made a decision that is well beyond the limits of safety that was intended for the situation. The same is true with empowerment to the workforce. While not as life threatening as the situation I have described, enforcing discipline while encouraging initiative in the work environment is a very difficult balance that many companies struggle to get right.

As I discussed last week, empowerment is giving your employees work goals and direction and then the space to use their own brain and their creativity in how to achieve the goal. What you have to do equally as well with empowerment is to set the boundaries as to how far they can go in the empowered work environment before they must seek approval or counsel. When your employees don’t know how far they can take the empowerment process, they will either not go far enough to really achieve or too far for both the good of the business and the structure of empowerment that is being created.

When you set clear boundaries coupled with the empowerment to bump up against those boundaries, your employees/associates will feel much safer in putting their brain to work and making the decisions because they have clearly defined limits as to how far they can go without having to get approval for everything up to that point. As an example a work group may have to have a rotational assignment for leader of the work group every three months. So, the work group is not empowered to ignore the responsibility of defining a group leader every three months but within that requirement, they are allowed to discuss openly and build their own criteria for the selection every three months of the work group leader. That is a simple view of empowerment with discipline which is critical as the boundaries for empowerment success.


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Motivational Leadership Speaking Motivational Leadership SpeakingRandy continues to be an exciting motivational leadership speaker, which has been his passion for over 25 years. He honed his skill as a motivational speaker and business coach working at GE under the tutelage of Jack Welch. From line supervisor to President & CEO, Randy has successfully lead individuals through his specific motivational methods that produce tangible results. Randy is personable, authentic, and driven. He has a speaking ability that motivates and energizes individuals to achieve beyond their potential.
Executive Leadership Mentoring Executive Mentoring & Leadership ConsultingRandy Dobbs is a proven CEO with strong operational/execution skills who has demonstrated success in fix-it situations. Randy has been a mentor for over 30 years helping individuals, senior leaders, to CEO’s at GE, Phillips Medical, USIS and wcasportfolio companies. Randy was trained in mentoring while at GE and subsequently pushed to train all the top leaders in Philips and USIS while implementing mentor programs at both organizations.Randy mentors/coaches CEO’s and some of their direct reports today in his current role.
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Sharing personal experience and practical business blueprints, Dobbs takes the reader on a journey through the transformational process. Leaders working in organizations of various sizes--and facing diverse challenges and opportunities--will find Dobbs' ideas transformative, personally as well as professionally. This is a book for persons who want to be change agents within their respective organizations. It is for all who want to make a difference for themselves and their coworkers.