Servant Leadership Mastery – 11 EMPOWERMENT

Table of Contents

Servant Leadership Mastery

Strategies, Stories, and Stimulus for Leading with Respect Along with Results

Chapter 11.

What Do Team Members Want from Their Leader?


Power is the ability to make things happen, it is neutral on its own, thus, using it for good, can impact others positively. EMPOWERMENT is related to power involving giving people the ability to control and influence lives as well as the environment around them. It entails a process of increasing people’s power, especially those without, marginalized, or deprived.

Empowerment may take the process of education and skills building to gain the resources they need to overcome obstacles and achieve goals. It could also involve access to financial resources helping to level the playing field and reduce systemic inequalities. Therefore, empowerment is about helping people to develop power and attain control of their lives, reaching an equitable society.

There are various contexts of empowerment. Servant leaders tend to promote the following at the workplace:

  1. Personal Empowerment – By helping individuals build their self-esteem, self-confidence, and sense of self-worth which may involve developing skills, setting goals, and taking steps to improve one’s health and well-being. It also, helps them build a sense of purpose to evolve and maximize their potential.
  2. Professional Empowerment – By providing opportunities to grow and supporting team members with coaching, mentoring, and encouraging innovation and creativity, as such leaders strive to help team members reach their full potential.
  3. Structural Empowerment – By removing obstacles and barriers that may be hindering team members’ ability to perform. Creating an environment of inclusivity and diversity where everyone’s voice is heard and valued. Servant leaders promote a culture of shared decision-making in collaboration with team members.
  4. Community Empowerment – Recognizing the importance of engaging the broader community and supporting community-led initiatives. Servant leaders advocate social and economic justice by showing how inclusivity creates a sense of community power.

My research findings (Pressentin, 2020, 2021, 2022) have reported when leaders micromanaged, showed a lack of support, blocked resources, treated team members with discrimination of opportunities and used disrespectful communication, or simply did not communicate caused a severe amount of stress in employees, as a consequence, leaving them to feel disempowered and demotivated to continue, as with reduced job satisfaction with limited room for growth. As a result, team members reported going through burnout.

On the other hand, over-empowerment or delegating inappropriately also caused burnout when team members were not ready to take full responsibility of high impact projects they did not have much knowledge of, it also created a lack of accountability, poor decision making, lack of coordination and it increased the risk of failure. Team members felt useless and ashamed for not being able to contribute.

TIP: To measure the appropriate amount of empowerment is advisable to get to know the team members on a one-on-one basis by accompanying the development and attainment levels of their goals while providing them with appropriate amounts of direction and support. Having frequent one-on-one conversations to help them achieve their goals, asking them for feedback on how helpful was the interaction and how much more support and direction they need is helpful to gauge the level of readiness for empowerment per goal.

Some organizational metrics guide the existing cultural level of empowerment, such as satisfaction surveys, employee turnover rates, performance metrics, decision-making scope and sign-off authorizations, and feedback mechanisms.

Humans desire autonomy to make choices and decisions, to feel competent in what they do, and to have the opportunity to socially connect with others and build relationships with them, as these are the three basic human psychological needs. Leaders serve team members when they pay attention to creating opportunities for individuals to feel autonomous, competent, and relatable, generating an optimal environment for team members to work and thrive in.


Dr. Maria Pressentin is a Servant Leadership Strategist, a multi-award-winning behavioral scientist, and a leadership development professional, Maria helps people shift their mindset and apply serving-leader skills to their daily interactions. Her work involves incorporating competencies of servant leadership in organizational functional and strategic roles to build long-term vitality in businesses. Her latest book is titled “Key Factors and Use Cases of Servant Leadership Driving Organizational Performance”, IGI Global, 2021.

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