Empowering Leadership Behavior in Schools: Lessons Learned from the Business Sector

Empowering leadership behavior includes encouraging of self-reward systems, self-leadership, opportunity awareness, participation in goal setting, and independent behavior by followers and group members. In other words, it’s all about helping followers take ownership of their positions, toward the greater good of the organization. And, as studies have shown, the effects are often positive and far-reaching.

Empowering leaders, through positive emotional support and encouragement, increases motivation and confidence among subordinates as they set out to accomplish their individual and organizational goals. Therefore, empowering leadership can be quite useful, particularly as a behavioral tactic for entrepreneurs, who must gain commitment from those they work with in order to compete against bigger, more established, and resource-rich enterprises.

Additionally, empowering leadership behavior in entrepreneurs is crucial in dynamic environments. Entrepreneurs attempting to lead their ventures toward higher growth while operating in ever-changing conditions can benefit from adopting an empowering leadership style. It is an effective way to distribute leadership throughout the management team. This enhances the shaping of emerging strategy, which harnesses the individual talents of each team member that are most relevant to the current situation.

However, there are some negative effects that come with empowering leadership, which are often left out of leadership literature. One of the disadvantages of empowering diverse teams is that it can be counterproductive. Empowering leadership can cause incompatibility among certain innovative enterprises.

In addition, empowered management teams tend to seek out too much information before making decisions. They may also attempt to follow too many opportunities, without refining a single business concept to establish a solid basis in the market. These challenges more often occur in experienced firms with diverse top management teams.

Diverse teams can be quite effective at considering multiple alternatives and making sense of challenging situations, but they are much slower to reach agreement on decisions. Different perspectives within top management teams can produce conflict, slowing the decision-making process.

We can conclude that empowering management teams can provide greater opportunity for conflicts to emerge. Conflicts among team members are likely to be particularly damaging to ventures operating in dynamic environments, where decision-making must be speedy in order to take advantage of the brief windows of opportunity . Entrepreneurs should be cautious about when and where to empower their management teams.

In fast-changing environments, empowerment reduces the new enterprise’s performance, causing the relationship between the management team’s diversity and the new venture’s performance to become increasingly negative. In more stable industry environments, this kind of empowerment leadership behavior is more likely to have a positive effect on the performance of new ventures with non-uniform top management teams . This is because the information available is clearer and there is more time available for planning.

Stable environments allow the empowered top management teams to spend more time considering what alternative strategies are available, and exploring the potential for various innovative activities, since total agreement is not urgent. As a result, there is generally less conflict within empowered diverse teams operating in stable environments.

School leaders seeking effectiveness should learn from entrepreneurs, and particularly those from start-ups in fast-moving industries, which tend to be highly creative. They should strive to create environments in which positive ideas are encouraged, and in which there is ample opportunity for those ideas to be put in place.