• Ascent Leadership Program

An Empowered Culture

Updated: Apr 13, 2019

Is your culture creating dependency or partnership?




April's Action Learning Opportunity.


“ The new organization will only take place when people at every level adopt an empowered stance.” - Bob Anderson, The Leadership Circle


The Empowered Stance


Empowerment is one of those terms that we often hear talked about in organizations. What do we mean when we say we want others to feel empowered? What does it look like when every person adopts an empowered stance? One lens for empowerment is the nature of our relationships. Are the relationships reinforcing a Parent-Child or Adult-Adult dynamic. When a leader/manager acts in an autocratic or caretaker manner (like a parent would), employees will tend to respond as a child would - dependent, compliant and even rebellious. When the leader/manager acts in a way that treats the employee like an adult, the response from the employee can be organized around real commitment reinforced by self-management and accountability, alignment and partnership.


Some questions for reflection:

  1. How do I view those I lead? Employees need to be manipulated into engagement, have limited capacity and need controlling? Or, do I see them as complex, fully capable, creative, resourceful and whole?

  2. What does my style of leading promote? Compliance or commitment?

  3. How much of my time and energy goes to reassuring, directing, and protecting?

  4. What is my comfort level with acknowledging doubts, failure, and my own contributions to problems?

  5. How do I view true partnership?

  6. What is my comfort level with open communication and authentic conversations?

  7. Am I feeling responsible to take care of those I lead? What does care-taking create?

Most of us want to work in an organizational culture that is truly empowering, meaning the organization is committed to partnership and collaboration. This means examining the hidden bargains of dependency that can creep in over time.

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