nevertheless, he supported the act. 45 Authentic empowerment requires leaders to know what they are giving away and how they are changing the relationship between themselves and their followers. This is the only way that they can commit to keeping their part of the empowerment relationship. It is difficult for leaders to give away their own power and even more difficult for them to take away power from others.
Leadership is a distinct kind of moral relationship between people. Power is a defining aspect of this relationship. Whenever there is a change in the distribution of power between leaders and followers, there is a change in the specific rights, responsibilities, and duties in the relationship. Both sides have to be honest when they make these changes and have to understand fully what they mean. Bogus empowerment attempts to give employees or followers power without changing the moral relationship between leaders and followers. Empowerment changes the rights, responsibilities, and duties of leaders as well as followers. It is not something one does to be nice in order to gain favor with people. Over the past fifty years business leaders have tried to harness the insights of psychology to make people feel empowered. These attempts have often failed and led to cynicism among employees because business leaders have ignored the moral commitments of empowerment. Without honesty, sincerity, and authenticity, empowerment is bogus and makes a mockery of one of America's most cherished values, the freedom to choose.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Ethics: The Heart of Leadership. Contributors: Joanne B. Ciulla - Editor. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 84.
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