Empowerment entails freedom, self-determination and believing in oneself. An empowered individual not only makes sound decisions but also takes responsibility for their destiny. Here are strategies that can be effectively used to empower an individual or a community.
- Creating goals that are challenging but attainable
You need to understand the people whom you need to empower. This starts with carrying out a comprehensive assessment. A proper assessment will help you understand the client’s goals, strengths and weaknesses. It will also help in comprehending the goals which are functional for each individual. While at this, it is important to focus on the goals that have not been achieved and aim at helping the client meet them. This will give them a real change, an aspiration to accomplish bigger things and utilize their full potential.
- Encourage your client
There is nothing as empowering and motivating as encouragement. Telling your client to have faith in themselves means that you have recognized their potential and they only need to put in some effort to attain their dreams and aspirations. When the client believes they have the capacity to conquer, they will not stop until they achieve their target. It is also important to recognize that people function differently, no one person is the same as another. Therefore it is important to understand these differences and handle each case on its own merits; otherwise you may end up achieving the opposite results. Some people may take words of encouragement negatively; some have such a negative attitude of themselves that they take words of encouragement with a grain of salt. It is important to deal with the issues first and then embark on taking this route as far as people who have low self-esteem are concerned.
- Aim at involving the whole family or group
Change of attitude has to extend beyond an individual; it has to be in the whole group or family. If you succeed in empowering an individual but in the family or the group there is more negative energy, the client may go back to square one, he or she will be influence by the rest and return to their pre-empowerment level. Targeting the whole group or family will help cement positive attitudes ensuring that empowerment extends and remains entrenched so thoroughly that chances of negativity are reduced.
- Empowerment ought to be life changing
Until the life of your client is changed you cannot say that he or she has been empowered. There ought to be a difference between the current and past lives. Independence is only achieved when the client believes he or she can do things on their own or has the capacity to influence their lives and that of others. To achieve this, there is a need to impart new skills and attitudes. This will not only make the client confident, but also help them see things through a different lens. With independence there will be empowerment.
- Seek assistance
The task to empower others is not for the faint-hearted, it calls for toughness and perseverance. You will constantly be frustrated when things do not turn out the way you would have wanted. Remember you are dealing with human beings who, in most circumstances, can be unpredictable. Do not vent your disappointment or anger on your client, this may only worsen the situation. Talk to somebody about your experiences, and when you feel that your strategies are not working then reach out. This does not mean that you have failed; it means that you are wise enough to accept that there are things which might be beyond you. It is better to talk to someone who might handle the client better than it is to continue to try only to make the individual you are trying to empower feel disempowered instead.
Empowering an individual is such a refreshing experience; it makes you feel good to know that you have made a difference in someone’s life. Aim to do it better and you will feel very satisfied.