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As a mother, educator, and ongoing student, it is important for me and those close to me to be involved with people who make others feel their power.
My child has friends who take from someone with a Broadway pedigree, but I have been told this teacher is not warm, pits children against each other, sometimes yells, tells them they are not good enough, and in rehearsal or class seems to demand the power instead of allowing the students to feel their strengths. Yet, he says, "I do this because I love my students." Have you ever encountered someone like this? An insightful child said, "That' doesn't seem like love to me." So why do parent's continue to allow their child to take from this person? Because this person has been on Broadway??
A leader's job is to empower others, grow them, show them their strengths and build on those to lessen their weaknesses. A good teacher can teach us about the ill-behaved and strategies to deal with these "power takers" should they come into our lives. Teachers and leaders should not be the ones seeking power, their goal should be to empower others and collaborate.
In an INC.com article, Laura Garnett talks about six ways to empower others, and I have expanded on some of her ideas.
1. Ask about a person's "vision." What are are their goals, how do they see themselves, what do they want? If you are an acting teacher, one person might be an accountant and only be in your class as a creative outlet but another might have goals of being in a play or in a film/TV show. Consequently, by asking another's vision, you can develop a plan how to best empower that person.
2. Live the behaviors you want others to embrace. For example if you would like others to be respectful to one another, you too must be respectful. If you would like others to be cheerleaders for one another, you too must be a cheerleader....
3. Help others uncover their genius. There is a director with whom I love working Why? Because he makes everyone feel special, and even says, "I love being around your genius." He is a genius, because he is a knowledgeable theatre director, but he also makes you feel like you inspire him. As result, this makes you work even harder and love him even more.
4. Give others the autonomy to do things on their own. When others know they have the autonomy to do things on their own, they will become more confident in their ability to become problem solvers and make their own decisions. Even if there are some failures, you are giving people the opportunity to fail in a safe environment and learn from mistakes. Giving others autonomy demonstrates you have trust in them and in turn they will be more likely put their trust in you, others, as well as themselves.
5. Hold back from giving answers. Rather, state the problem and allow others the opportunity to develop a solution. By holding back from giving answers, you are empowering others to collaborate with one another and/or giving them an opportunity as an individual create their own set of ideas and solutions.
6. Be a giver. When you give and don't expect anything in return, others will begin doing the same; a collaborative and empowering environment will be nurtured.