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This thing called empowerment

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I’ve always been intrigued by the word empowerment. I have considered this idea as I’ve been with assistants at professional development workshops and conferences and discovered some interesting insights.

Personal empowerment involves developing and demonstrating confidence and strength to fulfill your individual potential. It’s really that simple. Notice who has the responsibility. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and a range of skills that are used in everyday situations, but all too often people remain unaware of, or undervalue, their true abilities. As assistants we often wait for our manager to wave a magic wand and suddenly we are empowered. Not quite that simple.

At a basic level, the term “empowerment” simply means “becoming powerful.” It involves making some fundamental changes and being consistent in continuous self-improvement.

Here are some suggestions as you think about empowerment:

Be open: In the sharing of information (when appropriate within the scope of your job), ideas and thoughts.

Share and co-operate: Share resources and knowledge with others to help them to achieve their goals. Work together towards mutual goals. Be inclusive.

Be trustworthy: When other people place their trust in you, do your best to provide positive outcomes. Hold yourself accountable.

Be accepting: Hold the values and views of others in high regard.

Be supportive: Support others when necessary but also recognize their strengths—allowing them to work towards goals without your intervention as appropriate.

Empowered people know their own limits and have no reservations asking for help or guidance. Self-knowledge, often referred to as self-awareness, is a strength which enables assistants to set personal improvement goals in order to make a more substantial contribution in their day-to-day work.

Personal empowerment is not a static thing that you can do once in your life. You should view personal empowerment as ongoing personal development. As circumstances change and develop, and as we ourselves change and develop, so do our needs for development and empowerment.

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