wikiHow to Empower People

Three Parts:Empowering Your EmployeesEmpowering Children and TeensEmpowering a Group

Empowering others not only gets things done, but it sends out positivity in a group atmosphere. When everyone feels in control and like they have a piece of the pie, more work gets done, and results improve. Whether you're looking to empower your employees, children, or a general group of people, positivity, confidence, and opportunities go a long, long way.

Part 1
Empowering Your Employees

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    Get to know them. It is easy to fall for judging the person and find reasons not to empower them. Know their skills and qualifications. Look over their curriculum vitae, and find out what their strengths and abilities are. This will help you decide where to maximize their potential.
    • Listen to them more than you speak. Be aware of the emotional background some of them are going through and that difficult situations may be playing a role in their perceived timidity.
    • Ask them what they are best capable of and find most enjoyment in doing, within the scope of their work description. This way you can encourage them to contribute in their areas of specialty and interests – and make sure it happens.
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    Give frequent praise for good work every day. Most people thrive in environments where they consistently receive positive feedback. It helps them to know what they are doing is appreciated, and will encourage them to continue their good work and feel empowered.
    • Create an environment that celebrates both their successes and their failures. You also want to praise the employees who took a risk but didn't get the results they intended; however, they learned valuable lessons themselves and for the company. They were gutsy enough to make an example of themselves that everyone can learn from.
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    Avoid criticism if at all possible. Criticism has the opposite effect of praise, discouraging people greatly and often shutting them down. Always assume good faith, be understanding, think in terms of the good aspects of the situation, and compare their mistakes to mistakes you have made yourself, or could have made.
    • If you must give criticism, be constructive, always give them praise first, and provide clear suggestions on how to improve. Criticism that offers no solution is just mean and unnecessary.
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    Provide opportunities for further training and education. Allow them to expand their knowledge and skills so they can contribute in greater ways. Sometimes, especially in the workplace, people feel powerless and as if their work isn't meaningful. When they accumulate more skills, they'll feel like they are important and belong.
    • Check that people have all the high-tech items they need to be effective, and make sure they know how to use them. Tell them, "If you have any questions, ask me about it and I can help." And mean it, too.
    • Encourage your employees to take about 10 minutes each day to learn new skills on their iPhone, computer, or other non-technical skills they can use in daily life.
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    Share information freely and readily. Sharing information with employees is partly about trust and partly about resources. Information sharing fosters trust between you and your employees; after all, you wouldn't share information with someone you don't trust. Second, information sharing also gives your employees the resources they need to do a competent job; it's hard to make the best possible decisions when you don't have the information you need to act.[1]
    • Establish goals and objectives and communicate them clearly. Make sure you articulate everything from the company's mission and the founder's vision to a group's goals and individual roles. Employees are most empowered when they understand both large- and small-picture goals and aren't forced to improvise on the spot.
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    Support a learning environment. Each week, get teams together to look at various situations and discuss them together to determine how they might handle things differently in the future and achieve a different result. This is really what our lives are all about – learning new things as we age and analyzing the things we've done in the past.
    • Create an environment in which making mistakes is acceptable. Empowering your employees sometimes means giving them the leeway to try things they've never done and accept uncertain results. Employees who are afraid to try something new for fear of backlash or criticism won't step out of the narrowly defined roles you've given them. This, in turn, robs them of empowerment. Barring certain limitations — discrimination or illicit behavior come to mind in the workplace — do your best to encourage healthy risk-taking. When an employee makes a mistake, encourage them to learn from it and move on.

Part 2
Empowering Children and Teens

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    Try to find out why this child isn't empowered. To begin tackling this issue, you've got to know where it comes from. Are they bullied at school? Do they feel stupid or ugly? What are the relationships like with their parents and teachers? Children are generally happy-go-lucky unless there is a definite issue at hand.
    • Once you get to know the absolute reason behind this aspect of their personality, you'll be able to move onto the next steps, and help them become more sure in themselves.
    • Sometimes it has to do with situation. If a child is the youngest of four sisters, a part of a minority group or female, it may be that the current power structure they reside in has effected their self perception. If you can tackle these issues in their developing stages, you could make their adult life infinitely easier.
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    Use positive language. Don't sigh, because this can be taken as a sign of frustration. Even if they've messed up, let them know you're proud of them for trying, for taking a risk, and for finding a way that doesn't work. You're on their side regardless, and will cheer them on as far as they go.
    • Instead of saying they're "not dumb," let them know that they're smart. Instead of saying they "didn't do badly," say they did well. Speak in terms of things they did do and put a positive spin on it to make it feel like they are in control and performing well.
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    Help make them confident. Compliment them about things they may not like about themselves, and bring it to a whole new level. For example, if they feel like they are ugly, tell them little things, like "Your skin is nice." Sometimes go into more detail, like "Your eyes are like flowers. They're so pretty." The more you go into detail the more they will be convinced and think the same way about themselves.
    • If you're close, have them think of things they like about themselves and have them tell you. Whenever they feel down, you can bring up these things. You should also add to the list and try to get them to see your argument. "Do you remember that time you spent Friday night all worried about your sister? You're so kind and considerate."
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    Give them positive reinforcement. Using the power of a compliment and rewards will help enable you to successfully empower anyone. For children, this is in the form of privileges. When they come home from school with an A on their paper, tell them they did a great job, you're proud of them, and that they can pick the activity for the night. Reward their good behavior and they'll begin to see that they help shape the world around them – they'll feel empowered.
    • Most people are not held back by what they can't do, they are held back by what they believe that can't do. When you create an environment where they are capable of almost anything, they may believe it and rise to your expectations.
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    Get them in a positive, healthy environment. If at all possible, surround them with people who genuinely build their confidence, those who seem interested in everything they have to say, and those they can learn from and with. If certain friends don't meet this criteria, try your best to keep them away, and explain why you're doing so. You may just plant the seed in your mind and they could end up seeing their negativity, too.
    • Encourage a healthy lifestyle, too. When anyone eats well and exercises, they feel better – children included. Taking care of our physical selves increases efficiency and mood, helping us feel good about ourselves. If possible, set a good example and be supportive by being active with them and eating with them. You need to be active and eat well, too!
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    Let them know that everyone has some form of insecurity about themselves because no one is perfect. Even the person who wants to present themselves to the world as if they are perfect does so because of the fear of others seeing their faults. To feel insecure is totally normal. They are learning and growing and getting better each day. That's something to be positive about.
    • We are all evolving daily. No one is "all they want to be" at this moment. Let them know they should give themselves a break. They need to allow themselves to grow and change and become. Make sure they give themselves credit for where they are at the moment, because where they are is actually where they are supposed to be.

Part 3
Empowering a Group

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    Give a voice to the group through the media. Media recognition and support that highlights achievements, problems or unjust treatment for any group can be a useful method of empowering a group or social class. This is because it raises wide public awareness which creates support and leads to the people feeling somewhat heard. Most people seek to know they exist and are being listened to, and doing so will validate them.
    • If possible, get the group on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. Call the local news, get in the paper, advertise, and just spread the word.
    • Have them be a part of it, too. Form a brainstorming committee where they can take action into their own hands, not just follow your creative commands on how to reach out to the public.
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    Create a pressure group. This is another useful way of empowering a group. Being in a group, fighting for a united cause, makes people stronger and more active in controlling their lives. It provides people with a solidarity, the lack of which had left them feeling dis-empowered previously.
    • Think of just about any group that is fighting against another group, whether it's something abysmal like racism or something scheduled and planned, like political elections. In the most pressured of times, people band together and create upward movement and get things done. A pressure group can force about this motivation.
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    Encourage the group to use their voice. Let them know they have the right to have more say in things that affect their lives, their happiness, or even their rights as citizens. Whether it's a small issue within the group that they're not happy about or an issue in our global village, encourage them to speak up. If they don't speak up, nothing will get done.
    • For example, certain European governments do this very well by allowing people to vote in referendums on issues such as "whether to stay in the EU." This makes the people feel that they are autonomous upon themselves and so, empowered. Use this as an example and make it work on a smaller level. You can have elections, voting sessions, meetings, and even informal sounding board sessions.
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    Get them paying attention. When it comes to empowering people, you have to make sure that the people being empowered feel comfortable and are paying attention. Nothing good will come of the lesson if he or she isn't paying attention or feels uncomfortable and therefore doesn't get everything you say.
    • Your demeanor will be a large part of this. If you, yourself, aren't empowered and don't set forth a good, commanding example, you won't be able to help them find their inner source of empowerment. Be confident in your own skills and they may be able to be more confident in theirs.
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    Lastly, be your own lighthouse and you will bring light for others. Learn and teach at every moment possible and always ask for feedback rather than just sticking with your say. Open your mind to new alternatives that the group presents you. Encourage them to step up if you see the possibility for them to grow. Work with them, not above them.
    • Believe the words you say, too. If you're telling them they're capable of anything, mean it. If you don't, they'll see through it and discredit your opinion. If you're honest, upstanding, confident, and have their best interests at heart, they will want to rise to your expectations.


  • Foster collaboration. It is easy to break one straw, but much harder to break a bundle of straws together. Empower people by encouraging them to work together in a collaborative environment.
  • Be supportive. Always be available and eager to help others if they ever be in want. This will promote a spirit of good feeling and empower them to reciprocate.

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