16 June 2009

Empowerment

Another nugget of insight from Tom Demarco's book, Slack.

Empowerment = the capacity to injure the person above you.

Wow. That makes me think about a lot of things. What does it make you think about?

3 comments:

Phil said...

lot of truth in that simple statement ... reminds me of the rule on delegation ... you can delegate authority, but you can never delegate responsibility.

having said that, is it a rather cynical view? i like to see the goodness in the people I empower (and usually i'll take the risk associated with it to see them succeed). haven't been burned yet ... i'll keep empowering.

The Dan Ward said...

Good question - in context, it wasn't presented cynically at all. It was more of a gut check and call to courage for leaders. It was also a clarification of what empowerment really means.

Specifically, he's saying that if you're not putting yourself at risk, you're not really empowering your people. If a leader does not allowing people to fail in ways that might have negative consequences for the leader... it's not really much of an empowerment.

Don C said...

This returns to Deming's "Drive out fear." In the appropriate organization, the level of injury would not be great. Like most master crafts people, our project managers should have gnarled and scarred hands for the small injuries they receive in practicing and prefecting their vocation. In that way the bandage/tape of the hand of FIST is a perfect metahpor.