What is the difference between personal and professional empowerment?

November 5, 2018 adminmj

Like a Boss: The difference between personal and professional empowerment?

Do you ever feel you have no control over your life and work? That things just aren’t working for you?

Perhaps you feel dominated by your colleagues or overwhelmed by the demands of your job? Or is your time outside the workplace spent tending to other people’s needs at the expense of your own? And you often drag yourself around, waking up tired and going to bed exhausted?

We read so much about empowerment at work and home and at times, wonder if the word is overused?  So, let’s take a deeper dive into looking at what it really means at work, and how people can learn to become empowered.

Personal Empowerment

Empowerment means simply to ‘become powerful’ – living the way we want to live, making good, informed choices and being happy in our lives.  Taking control of what we do in our daily living.  It’s often linked to having high self-esteem and self-worth because when we feel good about ourselves and what we do, we feel more empowered to move forward.

High self-esteem and self-worth are intertwined with high self-empowerment.

Empowered people have SMART goals they work towards and generally enjoy life, have good relationships around them and thrive in their work.  This doesn’t mean they are necessarily at the top of the Organisation, but are content in the position they are in, or are making conscious and deliberate moves to find another more purposeful role.

A simple enough definition of personal empowerment, so why is it that so many people don’t achieve it?

Professional Empowerment

People who feel professionally empowered have generally sorted out in their own minds where their careers are heading, (or are there already) and have firm goals and steps in place to take control of their working life.  They have purpose and a vision for what they want and go out and get it.

This may mean having a professional development plan they follow to build the foundations of what skills and competencies they need to get to where they want to go, but they realise this and take the action steps moving forward.

The link between personal and professional empowerment

In my experience, most people have a sense of empowerment across their lives (if they feel empowered, that is).  However, it is also possible that a person may feel really empowered in their home environment, but are disempowered at work due to a lousy manager, a lack of opportunities to grow and a dysfunctional team that don’t work well together.  Normally empowered people tend not to hang around these situations too long and move away to find something they prefer.

Generally though, I think they complement each other

Jane – an empowered woman

She seems to be a person who knows what she wants and is going for it.  At 32, she is a project manager for an IT firm and whilst she enjoys her job, she feels ‘stale.’ So she recently approached her manager about other opportunities (proactive and taking control) and is looking at studying further, realising she needs more skills to advance (making smart choices to become more empowered).

She is in a relationship with Pete and they get along well.  She is an assertive person and when they disagree on something (as we all do at times) she will calmly stand her ground and tell him her viewpoint.  No shouting but merely being calm (confident and assertive). She has great relationships with her family and friends.

Jane is both professionally and personally empowered and she is regarded by many as a strong, loving woman, with high self-esteem and she values the contributions she makes.

Why do so many people struggle to be empowered at work?

Professional empowerment is about choices and the value you place on yourself, the skills you have and what contribution you bring to the table at work.  Leadership skills play a key role in whether there is an ‘empowered culture’ at work or not because if the leader values learning and development and growth of their people, generally people develop in their competencies and begin to feel more empowered in themselves and their roles.

Another reason is that some people don’t really know what they want to do with their careers.  They don’t have a clear path or SMART goals, so tend to drift and allow life to take them along a professional path where they are not sure where they are going.  Empowered people have a firm idea about what they want, goals in place and work towards achieving them.

A lack of confidence in the workplace is another factor, where individuals don’t stand up for themselves in team conflict or don’t contribute to team discussions for fear of being ridiculed or reprisals.  This is particularly true of women. This culture of submissiveness and fear never grows empowerment and affects the self-worth of people down the line.

Empowerment in the workplace is a critical factor in Organisations and for individuals.

How to become empowered

  • Become self-aware. Learn what your strengths and areas for improvement are and work out how to get better at things you don’t do well
  • Value you and the contributions you make at home and work. Nobody is perfect but you bring so much into the lives of others and your own.  You need to appreciate you for who you are
  • Accept you will never be perfect because none of us are. So work with the wonderful strengths you have and build on them.
  • Work out what you want out of life. What are your goals?  If you struggle with that question, imagine you are 90 years of age and looking back at your life – what would you like to have achieved?  What goals would you like to have kicked?  This may give you some idea of what you want from this time called life
  • Develop your skills and competencies at work. Do a course, go on a Program.  Be proactive in your career and develop our abilities in any way to help you get the ideal job
  • Have a good work-life balance.  Great friends, strong relationships and a positive attitude to life
  • Take control of your life and design the career you want.
  • Get a great life coach to guide you
  • Take opportunities that are in front of you to thrive both professionally and personally

Pure Magic International Business Solutions is an award-winning company, passionate about helping clients achieve strategic business outcomes by providing innovative leadership, management and people development strategies and techniques at all levels and by using a range of easy to implement OD and HR strategies.  To find out more, head to www.puremagicbusiness.com.au

If you’d like to discuss any concerns or ideas you have about personal or professional empowerment, why not book a free discussion on https://my.timetrade.com/book/QGY21 today?

Photo by Todd DeSantis on Unsplash

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