Empowerment is a valuable tool if used effectively, to enable those around you to be able to make decisions, take the initiative and feel valued. Empowerment is especially useful as a managerial skill, to empower colleagues, allowing them to take ownership of their own work and to have a certain feeling of having power, albeit limited. A manager can then prioritise his own work, safe in the knowledge that his team of staff are working towards a common goal, as a team.

Empowerment starts early in life, when our parents have seen that we have learnt by experience, we can be empowered to start decision making, whilst adhering to boundaries of action and movement. Gradually we are given more freedom to be responsible for our actions and the world opens up to us with opportunities.

Early experienced of being controlled or overprotected shape our adult ideas about boundaries that may not exist, and we may find we make excuses for not doing activities as we are fearful of the result. Lack of empowerment can have a negative effect on our feelings of capability.

However once we understand why we act the way we do, and that early conditioning has shaped us in certain ways, we have the ability to change.

Empowerment is most often seen in the workplace. Instead of a manager having to oversee every piece of work his workers do, he can trust them.

Empowerment requires an organization to work in an open honest environment, informing workers about regular developments, opportunities and threats as well as making sure employees are well aware of the company’s main aims and vision.

Involving everyone on major changes such as office moves, Christmas parties helps people feel involved and valued, knowing that their contribution matters. This also enables workers to feel that management respect their humble opinions and value their skills and experience.

If managers are sufficiently trained on how to empower staff the circle widens, with all workers feeling that making decisions when empowered will not cause them any negative impact, and will simply be used to learn from.

In the event of a crisis, an empowered person can take charge, knowing that they are taking the right actions to help the situation.

Empowerment includes feeling involved, having sufficient knowledge and experience, feeling like part of a team and understanding that your actions would impact on others, and most importantly self esteem, knowing that you are valued by your manager or peers.

Unfortunately empowerment can be hampered by a boss who is indecisive and cannot allow workers to take own initiative. A boss who lacks trust in his workers and needs to micro manage them will not be able to empower them. Any undermining of power and authority will also have a negative impact on feelings of being valued and respected, decreasing the likelihood of having a motivated team.

An empowered boss in a small company can make the difference between the company increasing in success in the marketplace. Allowing workers to make their own decisions in a trusting supportive open environment, can give the boss the time to be pushing the business forwards and taking it to the next level.

Image reproduced from ivyleaguedandunemployed,org


On the X Factor auditions recently a contestant began her audition by saying “I can win, I will win”. Clearly she was utilising powerful mantras to give herself confidence and enable her to perform at her best in order to win.

Unfortunately her confidence was misplaced and her dreams of winning did not come true.

Whilst mantras are a great tool to gain extra confidence to enable one to cope better with difficult situations, the goal needs to be achievable and realistic.

Conversely, all the talent in the world will not help a person to achieve their goals without drive and ambition Support from friends and family are invaluable but an inner self belief and the ability to push yourself forward in life can be created with a few easy steps involving visualisation.

Focus on where you want to be and use your imagination as a powerful tool to shape your future. Allow yourself to daydream and move away from reality.

This can be particularly useful when preparing for a potentially stressful event. Try the power of your imagination, which may not be something you have fully utilised since childhood.

Relaxation is crucial to the visualisation process, and also simply to maintain wellbeing. It gives us more energy, enhanced immunity, less headaches and pain, a stronger grasp of our emotions, and better sleep.

If finding the time to incorporate regular relaxation time is proving impossible with a hectic life, then simply use relaxation techniques whenever necessary.

A quiet warm, comfortable room is ideal. Although physical exercise is essential for good health, in order to fully relax, a sitting or lying down prone position is preferable.

Whilst creating an environment of calm receptivity, the mind can fully relax, allowing the right hemisphere of the brain to be accessed more easily.

Relaxing shuts out the logical parts and enables the imagination to flow.

Pilates and yoga stretches are great for practising relaxation techniques if carried out safely and with good form.

Releasing tension, stretches such as the Pilates Full body stretch soften the muscle fibre and calm the mind. Lying in the prone position, reach your arms overhead, straighten the arms and the legs and imagine your hands and feet are being pulled away from your body. Tense every muscle initially including your core as you push your limbs away from your torso, imagining you are pushing away negativity. Breathe in deeply and slowly, fully exhale taking your time, and slowly repeat. Using lateral thoracic breathing such as this means that the rib cage is fully inflated and then deflated, using the full capacity, and also working the muscles between the ribs, increasing flexibility of the upper body.

Whilst relaxing, allow your imagination to take over and allow the process to unfold, creating your inner vision.

Next visualise what you desire the most. This could be a new relationship, a family, new home, letting go or finding happiness and peace. If unsure what you are looking for, or where you are heading in life, imagine yourself with increased confidence.

Try remembering a time you felt confidant and happy. Shut your eyes and imagine how that would feel again, how you would smile, how you would appear to others, how you would walk, concentrating on feelings of self-esteem, security, self-worth, and most importantly, love. Allow these feelings to permeate through your body, pushing any fear and self-doubt away.

Repeat this regularly until the negative feelings subside and are replaced with positivity.

As Henry Ford said “Whether you can or can’t, you are right” .

Image reproduced from changeoflifecoaching.com

5 Tips to Help You Be Happy at Work

Happiness at your workplace is not something that is born out of a slick work space, well designed office and location at a happening address.  Neither is it about having a great boss and friendly colleagues.  It is about having the right attitude and looking within.  Here are 5 tips to help you be happy at work…

1. Believe in Yourself

Even if you are having a really bad day at work or have been given a really tough assignment, don’t panic or fret.  Instead choose to believe in yourself and your abilities.  Seek help and guidance from friends, family, bosses, seniors or colleagues who might be able to help.  Partner and network with people who have the skills and the ability to get the job done, it is here that your own good self-image will help you approach and elicit help from other people.

Your confidence and calm demeanour will serve you well and help you think clearly and creatively to work your way out of the toughest circumstances.

2. See Opportunities Everywhere

One man’s loss is another man’s gain.  Never lose sight of this universal truth.  Look for opportunities to prove your mettle and your abilities; do this regularly.  If you have a domineering superior who refuses to give you any authority but piles you with responsibilities, see opportunity in that as well.  Let your work speak for you, recognition and appreciation will follow eventually.

Opportunities abound, you just need to recognize them… a dissatisfied customer, unwilling co-workers, bothersome bosses or juniors who need help are all windows of opportunity for you to add value, solve a problem and bond with people.  The only thing you need to do is figure out how to make things work.

3. Keep Working Towards Your Life Goals

Don’t let failures and disappointments deter you.  Keep working towards your life goals.  As a teacher, my life goals include pushing students to excel, think creatively and find their potential while creating a body of knowledge through books, articles and the like.  I am often disillusioned by how casually students approach carefully designed and executed assignments, their reticence and unwillingness to work hard.  What do I do?

I keep trying anyways because I know I cannot lose sight of the bigger picture.  At the end of the year if I have even five students who I have been able to mould then that takes me closer to my goal, one step at a time.

4. Stay Positive At All Times

While a lot of people say this and I am telling you too, positive thinking really is the only thing that can keep you sane, focused and make you approach situations and people with empathy and patience.  Instead of complaining about darkness and wishing it would go away, we need to find a solution.  Can we empty darkness in buckets or do we just light a lamp to dispel it?

If we keep looking at the downside then the glass will always be half empty.  Instead look at it as half full waiting to reach the brim with a little help from you!

5. Remember…You Script the Story of Your Own Success

Once we realize that we alone are responsible for what happens to us then we know that the locus of control is “I, me alone”.  It is you who script your story…the story of your life and career.  If you were a script writer, what would you do?  You would work towards a happy ending, pleasant twists, throw in opportunity to make your story better, right?  Do the same with your life and work and see what a difference it will make.