Association for Project Management
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Project Leadership: The Power of Empowerment

The Branch was delighted to have Airbus Defence and Space in Newport host this event on 5th March 2020.

Our speakers, Sarah Walton and Marion Thomas, from Extraordinary Project Management, took a fun look at project leadership and empowerment, using a dog walking analogy and a lot of audience participation.

Sarah and Marion kicked off the session with some questions to the audience about their views of empowerment – did they feel empowered, did they empower others?

Empowerment is important, people feel more fulfilled which can lead to greater creativity, higher performance, more confidence, mutual trust, higher commitment and fewer surprises: the dead moose in the room!

Empowerment is a 2-way process, a team sport. It is constant and dynamic. It can be envisioned as a tightrope walker on a rope which is being constantly adjusted by the leader to help the follower to balance and perform to their very best. It requires being open to new ideas, learning from mistakes in a positive way, seeing the whole person on each other, valuing contributions, being positive and encouraging, giving clear boundaries and authorisation, (to maintain control), and have excellent communication with the sharing of expectations. The latter can be helped using the Johari Window model. The golden rule is to be curious about yourself and what you need.

There are five essentials for effective empowerment:

  • A collective team target – everyone needs to understand the bigger picture, the big whys?
  • Clear roles and responsibilities.
  • Clear boundaries
  • Learn, review and adapt
  • Encourage judgement to be used – stop and think. More haste, less speed.

It must be right for your team, organisation and circumstances.

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