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Smart Assistants Empower Themselves: 9 Ways You Can Too!

April 2, 2014

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A word to the wise: empowerment does not mean taking over, trying to do your boss’s job, steamrolling others, or a lack of collaboration. Effective empowerment is executed with discretion and an understanding of what is appropriate. Here are nine steps to take:

  1. Be confident in your competence. When you know what you’re doing and why, you’ll feel confident about adding value. Confidence gives you the ability to ask for what you want, and makes a productive working relationship with your boss and others easier. Know what your contribution and impact are.
  2. Develop insight into your strengths and into others. One of the hallmarks of emotional intelligence is the ability to see ourselves clearly and objectively…to build on our strengths and overcome or compensate for our weak points. Insight into our own behaviors and attitudes allows us to see what motivates others and to have reasonable expectations of them.
  3. Cultivate access to power, authority, and influence. No one is successful alone. Empowerment allows us to see and take advantage of opportunity. Knowing how others can assist you and how you can help them creates dynamic relationships.
  4. Take initiative. At the heart of empowerment is not only the ability to act, but also the acting itself, the execution of ideas and solutions. Don’t wait to be asked.
  5. Expand your decisions and authority. This is not just being able to choose how you spend your workday, but also about knowing how and when you’re making the larger choices that impact your performance and image. Have a good understanding with your manager about what level of authority you have related to your role.
  6. Set limits. Should you be a team player and collaborative? Of course. You also need to be able to exercise your right to say “no” or “Yes, but…” when appropriate.
  7. Make every experience a learning experience. Indulge your curiosity and creativity. Expect to find valuable, useful knowledge everywhere you go and you will.
  8. Be accountable. Keep in mind that no matter whose fault mistakes may be, no matter whose job the task may be, your responsibilities  are one hundred percent yours. It is fine to learn from mistakes and to analyze reasons for falling short in order to improve. However, blame or excuses undermine empowerment.
  9. Dream big and fill in the details. Know what matters to you and what has meaning. Spend some of your precious time mapping out career goals and create a dream so compelling it will motivate you and get you through the hard times. Unclear goals or expectations drain your motivation, so attack your goals like you would a special project.

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