Very Powerful, Effective Management . . . Employee Empowerment Vs Management by Consensus

As a business coach and management trainer I have an opportunity to see a lot of different approaches to management from really good to really bad. I run into managers that get confused over the concept of employee empowerment vs management by consensus. We’ve all been told that employee empowerment motivates employees and it essentially gives us, the managers and executives the leverage of a lot of heads that are very knowledgeable about our problem working on our problems.

That is all true. However, the part many get confused about is that they believe that that means “management by consensus” or “management by committee.”

The big difference is

  • Employee empowerment means that you give your employees the authority to do their job.


  • Management by consensus means that you give the employees the power to do your job.

I’m sure we’ve all, at one time or another, worked with a committee that had the job of creating something. Usually it became VERY frustrating because it took about 10 times longer than you or I would have done it alone,  it meandered from the original concept in many other directions, and probably didn’t come back to the original goal.

A good leader takes the helm while emplowering his team to think for themselves, while using the power of the team, the many heads working on the same problem, and a certain amount of power “to do their job” while helping you to do your job better.

When every member of a team is focused on “helping do YOUR job”, bringing you the critical information so that you can actual steer this thing where it needs to go while letting them keep the engines running you’ll find that you end up where you wanted to go faster and more effectively.

But, let’s go back to another point here . . . POWERFUL management and EFFECTIVE management is when YOU lead with a POWERFUL . . . EFFECTIVE vision. That means that you lead with a vision of where you want this team to end up and it isn’t JUST any old vision but one that will take you way above where most people would even dare go. It’s achievable, but you aren’t willing to go just anywhere. You are shooting for something more powerful and exciting than most dare to shoot for.

You will lead this team, they will provide the steam, the energy, and feed you the “how-to” from the perspective of those doing it. That doesn’t mean that you will delegate your authority to make decisions (management by consensus) but you will consult with them for their knowledge and opinions. Give them the authority to think for themselves, but you still have the final authority once you have “all of the information and opinions of the best heads in your industry and in your team” to steer this team where it’ll be the most powerful and effective team in your company, or maybe in your industry.

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