Definition: Assigning responsibilities and decision-making in a way that makes people responsible for results as well as the methods of achieving those results. Encouraging others to take on new challenges and providing sufficient resources to assist with achieving their goals




Remember: Great supervisors allow their employees to do great work and support them in the process. Here are some tips for how to successfully empower others:

1.      Foster Open Communication

Allow others to voice thoughts and concerns knowing that their opinions are values

2.      Reward Self-Improvement

Help individuals plan for growth and reward them as they grow and develop by providing them with new opportunities to practice learned skills

3.      Encourage Safe Failure

Trying new things often means failure, and failure is one of the best ways to learn; providing an environment where people feel safe making mistakes ensures individuals gain understanding and skill

4.      Provide Plenty of Context

We all carry around a great deal of information in our brain, however we often fail to realize that others don’t have access to that same knowledge. Providing context around the purpose, direction and need for any given task will enable individuals to handle similar situations in the future.

5.      Clearly Define roles

People who don't know what they are supposed to do can't do it very well. Establishing specific roles and responsibilities enables individuals to work together effectively

6.      Require Accountability

Individuals need to know if they are meeting expectations. Be consistent and diligent in your measurement of rewards so that employees are motivated to do their best

7.      Support Their Independence

Don’t micro-manage. Give employees the space to complete tasks and learn on their own. It’s hard to see mistakes being made, but allowing employees the room to make them enables them to learn and grow.

8.      Appreciate Their Efforts

An empowered individual works for more than just a paycheck. Appreciate the contributions of individuals and value their participation. Celebrate good work.


Self-Directed Learning Activities


Relevant Readings:

·         6 Ways to Empower your employees with Transformational Leadership http://www.forbes.com/sites/drewhendricks/2014/01/27/6-ways-to-empower-your-employees-with-transformational-leadership/#b6ce7773268d

·         Principles of Empowerment (PDF)



·         Blanchard, K. H., Carlos, J. P., & Randolph, W. A. (1999). The 3 keys to empowerment: Release the power within people for astonishing results. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

·         Ginnodo, B. (1997). The power of empowerment. Arlington Heights, IL: Pride Publications, Inc.

·         McBee, S. (2003). To lead is to empower: Leadership to empower your employees and yourself.



Empowerment PowerPoint (PDF)

From Delegating to Empowering (PDF)

Guided Learning Activities


Experiences (use one of the three learning journals to track your experiences):

·         Volunteer for a leadership role on a project at work and follow the tips above to empower your team; discuss your experience with a trusted coach or mentor

·         Think outside of your work-life, do you lead others on a sports team, through projects at home, with your children? Apply what you’ve learned about empowerment in those situations and reflect on how they are share similarities with situations your experience at work.

·         Identify a superior who you think empowers others, schedule a time to talk with them about their management techniques, consider asking:

o   What do they think are the the rules of thumb they are following?

o   Where did they learn the behaviors?

o   How do they monitor the effect they have on others?


Formal Training/Education


School and Course Module(s):

·         Laramie County Community College: MGT 1000 INTRODUCTION TO SUPERVISION

o   Students acquire techniques to improve or establish themselves as first-line supervisors. The student will understand and be able to apply basic management principles in solving problems encountered by first-line supervisors. Prerequisite: Completion of ENGL 0810 or equivalent placement test score.

·         Northwest College: MGT 1000 - Introduction to Supervision

o   Students acquire knowledge and skills used in supervision, organization, time management, decision-making, and information management. Students work with practical applications that reinforce the theory. Through comprehensive cases and illustrations, students examine the interrelationship of key supervisory management principles. (3 hrs lec)

·         Eastern Wyoming Community College:  MGT 1000 Introduction to Supervision

o   This course seeks to develop an understanding and appreciation of the basic concepts of supervision, to include planning, organizing, human resources management, directing, and controlling. Topics covered also include motivation, delegation, leadership, communications, team-building, total quality management, and discipline. The course should assist one to acquire the skills necessary


Law Enforcement Specific: