I suppose the two bonuses of empowering people is that you share a skill that enables them to do things independently which is good, and your relationship with that person now changes as they are no longer as dependent on you for your help.
I’d be the first to say that I derive tremendous satisfaction from empowering others and seeing them take a newly-learned skill, try it, master it and then employ it on a regular basis with confidence. There’s something special and gratifying about seeing self-confidence rise up in another and with it a change in attitude.
When I see someone master a new concept and use it correctly on a regular basis, I often think back to when they didn’t have that skill, and how dependent they were on me and others to guide them or do things for them. Now it’s not a bad thing in any way to seek out help from others that have knowledge of things we lack. What I find interesting to reflect on however is not so much the skill enhancement itself, but the change in the person overall.
Think perhaps of a time in your life when you suddenly moved from not knowing something to suddenly, “getting it”. At that moment when you thought, “I can do this by myself”, you experienced a moment of pride, accomplishment, confidence and had anyone been there to see you in this moment, they would have noticed an observable change. No doubt you may have smiled, laughed, and sat up straighter, walked with your head held higher, etc. Think about it; that recipe you made perfectly for the first time, that hobby you mastered (like that difficult knitting manoeuver), that first bike ride without falling over, the first time you crashed through that mental block in your weekly run.
Sometimes the things we master and find great joy in are in the things we choose to do in our spare time such as the above examples. When we experience those moments of mastering something, we’re happy largely because we find whatever it is we are doing pleasurable and that means we can repeat those pleasurable moments whenever we wish making our personal time more enjoyable.
Just as often, we can be empowered in our workplace. Someone on our team can teach us a practice, share a skill, and tip us off to a short-cut or better way to do something that saves us time and the company money. This kind of empowerment we really appreciate because now we have the skills and experience to repeat these positive experiences and presumably we’ll save time as most of us repeat whatever it is we do often in the course of our work. When we are empowered, we have to seek out help from others less often, and in so doing we become more productive at the same time as the others around get more productive having to help us out less often. It’s a win-win.
Looking for work is something most of us only invest our time in when we are actually looking for work. That may sound trite, but its true isn’t it? When we have jobs and go to work every day, we don’t usually devote and time – less even a thought – to upgrading our resumes, mastering how to write a cover letter or staying up on how looking for jobs has evolved. We may not verbalize it, but what our actions say is that we’ll think about learning the skills to get a job if and when we find ourselves actually looking for a job. Essentially we put off acquiring the skills for job hunting because we aren’t job hunting.
This becomes problematic then down the road when we find ourselves suddenly unemployed. Whether it’s being laid off, having quit, been fired, moved etc., we can find ourselves suddenly needing those job searching skills again.
What typically happens for many people is they go about job searching the way they went about job searching the last time they were out of work. Depending on how long they were actually working, this could be a month or two or it could be several years – even a decade or more. ‘Dusting off the resume’ for some people literally means dusting off the resume because time has left it sitting idle. The job seeker looks on their own thinking finding a job will be something they can do independently, but often, outside help soon becomes something they realize they need help with.
Looking for a job and the way in which employers go about hiring people has evolved and changed. The faster one realizes this and asks for help from someone up on the latest trends and best practices can often mean the difference between a short period of unemployment and a long-term experience.
If you lack the sufficient knowledge to navigate Applicant Tracking software, online applications, crafting targeted resumes, doing research using social media as examples, you may find yourself dependent on others with these skills to help you. At some point, hopefully you will master your own job search strategies and have the skills to go about conducting a successful search that concludes with landing your next job or resuming your career.
Written By Kelly Mitchell
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