The Subtle Difference That Packs a Powerful Punch

In the dynamic world of leadership, the transition from a telling style to one that empowers can significantly alter the course of team development and success. Traditional command-and-control leadership styles are becoming outdated in today’s collaborative and fast-paced business environment. Here, we explore how leaders can transform their approach to foster autonomy, enhance engagement, and ultimately drive greater success for their organizations.

The Shift from Telling to Empowering

The difference between telling and empowering might seem subtle, but its impact on organizational culture and performance is profound. Telling instructs team members on exactly what to do, often stifling creativity and personal investment in the outcomes. Empowering, however, involves guiding team members to make decisions and solve problems on their own, which boosts their confidence and commitment to the organization’s goals.

Why Empowerment Matters in Leadership

  1. Encourages Independence and Initiative: When leaders empower their teams, they encourage individuals to take initiative and make decisions, which builds their confidence and develops their problem-solving skills.

  2. Fosters Innovation and Creativity: Empowered teams feel more comfortable expressing their ideas and trying new approaches, which can lead to innovative solutions and improvements in processes and products.

  3. Builds Trust and Improves Engagement: Empowering leadership helps build trust between managers and their teams. When employees feel trusted, their engagement and satisfaction with their work increase, reducing turnover rates.

  4. Enhances Problem-Solving Capabilities: By allowing teams to tackle challenges independently, leaders foster a deeper level of problem-solving skills among their members, preparing them to handle future issues more effectively.

Key Strategies to Transition from Telling to Empowering

  1. Set Clear Expectations and Provide Resources: Clearly define the team’s goals and the parameters within which they should operate. Make sure they have the resources needed to achieve these goals.

  2. Ask Questions Instead of Giving Orders: Encourage team members to think through problems by asking guiding questions. This approach not only prompts them to find their own solutions but also enhances their analytical and decision-making skills.

  3. Allow for Mistakes and Provide Supportive Feedback: Creating an environment where mistakes are seen as learning opportunities is crucial for fostering innovation. Provide constructive feedback to help team members learn and grow from their experiences.

  4. Recognize and Celebrate Achievements: Acknowledge both the efforts and achievements of your team. Recognition boosts morale and reinforces the value of their contributions to the organization.

Implementing the Change

Leaders looking to implement this transformative shift can start by assessing their current leadership style and seeking feedback from peers and team members. Training and development programs, such as workshops on leadership styles and communication, can also provide leaders with the tools and knowledge they need to more effectively empower their teams. Providing roadmaps similar to the LEADJITSU The System can help significantly reduce the headwinds that emerge from any change.


Transforming from a telling style to one of empowering requires patience, trust, and commitment to personal growth and development of leadership skills. However, the benefits of making this transition can be far-reaching, affecting not just the immediate team but the entire organization. Empowered teams are more agile, innovative, and ready to meet the challenges of the modern business world.

Leaders who embrace this shift will likely find that they not only achieve better business results but also enrich the work lives of their team members, fostering a culture of mutual respect and shared success.