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Empowerment: What Does It Really Mean?

what-is-empowerment Do you feel empowered?

Empowerment is considered one of the most popular development and management concepts of our time. Institutions ranging from large development organizations to small businesses have been initiating empowerment programs in attempts to enhance motivation, improve efficiency, increase profit or bring about human development. [1]

Empowerment is defined by the World Bank as “the process of enhancing the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices … (that lead) to desired actions and outcomes.” At Compassion, discussions on the concept of empowerment are not new. But in practice, I wonder how evident empowerment is in our management behavior.

I believe that Jesus and Paul used the principle of empowerment in dealing with the disciples and other church leaders. Read John 15:15, Luke 10:1-20, 2 Timothy 2:2 and Philemon 1:10-14.

But how does that apply to us today? What does it mean to be empowered?

As a leader, how do you know whether your leadership style is empowering?

Three specific areas of practice may help you answer these questions:


1. Potterfield, Thomas, “The Business of Employee Empowerment: Democracy and Ideology in the Workplace,” Quorum Books, 1999.