by Siobhan Wilkes | Vice President for Communication & Recognition, ΤΒΣ
I’ve found in my experience professionally and in Tau Beta Sigma that there are many paths to developing leadership, but one that I tend to favor is empowerment. In my first hotel job my company believed greatly in empowering their employees to make decisions to ensure that our guests enjoyed their stay. I learned many valuable lessons from this ideology and believe that empowering the people I work with can help develop them to make an impact in whatever they are doing.
Empowerment is giving the people you are leading the authority to make decisions pertaining to their job/role. This can be empowering a front desk agent to “Make it Right” when a guest has an issue with their hotel stay, or empowering a band service committee member to spearhead a project for the chapter. Empowerment can take many faces and is crucial to the success of your chapter and developing the leadership within.
Empowering your Sisters and Brothers within your chapter helps to develop leadership through active participation with the band (see what I did there?!) and helps them to fine tune their own leadership skills in the process. Most chapters have committees to assist with the membership process, fundraising, service, or convention planning and while there may be an executive officer leading the committee there are also members who may want to gain experience in that area. The committee head was chosen for that position because of their experience, and they also have the opportunity to assist with the development of the next committee head through empowerment! This can look like allowing a member of the service committee to plan, develop a budget, and promote the Marching Band Formal- putting the baton in their hand for them to lead. They are empowered to learn how to plan a successful event, as well as giving them invaluable experience as they continue to develop as a leader within the chapter.
Empowerment also assists with engaging the members of your chapter. A large part of member retention is engagement, and we can use empowerment to allow your members to serve in a way that promotes creativity, collaboration with other members (also a way to foster relationships) and puts the spotlight on them to showcase their strengths. By empowering members of our chapters, we are creating value in what we do- and the value that we have created is in our members.
There are many ways to empower those you serve alongside, but as you put the baton in their hands there are a few things to consider as well:
Make sure that you give the person you are empowering the tools and resources for their success. You would never tell someone to go build a house and not provide a how-to book, training, or the building materials, would you? As you set on the path of empowering the members of your chapter, make sure that you are setting them up for success by training them on what they are going to do. This training does not have to be a three-day intensive session, but can be something as simple as shadowing a committee head as they plan one event, and then letting the empoweree take the lead the next time.
Be clear about the goals that you have for the person you are empowering, and follow up. These goals can include a budget, time frame, communication standards, paperwork, etc. Empowerment is a tool for developing leadership so make sure that you give guidance on what they should do and remember to follow up on their progress from time to time and give feedback.
Trust them. You’ve given them the tools and resources, been clear on the goals of the project, and nothing stifles growth more than not trusting the person you are empowering. Empowerment is trusting that the person you are delegating a task to will do a good a job. If your parents stopped you every time you tried to learn how to walk- many of us would still be crawling. Allow the person you are empowering to lead, and give them guidance along the way to ensure their success.
Give credit where credit is due! I mentioned earlier that empowerment assists with engaging members, and when the event is through make sure to celebrate their achievement! We are all part of Tau Beta Sigma because of our demonstrated leadership within the band, and celebrating our sisters is a fantastic way to keep each other pumped up about the work that we do.
Leadership Development, Member Engagement, and Delegation can all also be known as Empowerment. Empower your Sisters to do something that challenges them. Empower and cheer each other on as you meet the goals of your chapter. Use this skill and tactic to take your chapters’ impact to the next level, and further develop the leaders #4Gr8rBands!