Thing 8: Empowering leadership: how do I empower others?


In Thing 8 you will look at:

  • enabling others to develop and use their leadership capacity
  • what part you play, or could play, in promoting a culture of empowerment
  • what you could do differently – or better – to empower others

Open Badge information

Open Badge: SSSC 23 Things Leadership – Thing 8: Empowering Leadership

Counts towards: SSSC 23 Things Leadership – 6 Leadership Capabilities


You may find it helpful to complete Things 1-4 before starting Thing 8.

Through your day-to-day practice you may find you have opportunities to empower others, which could involve:

  • Making and taking opportunities to empower the people who use your service and their carers to achieve their best possible outcomes
  • How you collaborate with people supported by your service to identify and achieve their personal outcomes — drawing on their strengths and assets to accomplish this.
  • Empowering colleagues in your own team or partner organisations, as you work together to improve outcomes
  • Listening to, valuing and acting on the expertise and contributions from people who use your service, carers, staff and the community
  • Promoting the principles of citizen leadership
  • Ensuring everyone feels valued for their contributions
  • Sharing information that enables others to work more effectively, develop their practice or improve a situation
  • Modeling positive leadership behaviours that encourage others to exercise their own leadership
  • Building a culture in your organisation that empowers staff and people who use your service to develop and use their leadership capabilities
  • Supporting professional autonomy and leadership from colleagues
  • Empowering people to be innovative, and to take appropriate risks
  • Working with colleagues in partner organisations to build collaborative leadership capacity


Watch the video below on Citizen Leadership in Moray.

In this resource Holly demonstrates how empowerment has helped her to:

  1. Express her own voice
  2. Build her confidence, advocacy skills and independence
  3. Use her influence and leadership to make positive changes that are of benefit to her, other service users and the wider community
  4. Contribute to service improvement and workforce development.

Also of importance is the part played by those supporting Holly, with their practice being underpinned by a positive attitude to understanding and promoting citizen leadership and a receptiveness to changing the way they work.

Recent research, Enabling leadership, identified what good leadership looks like in Scotland’s social services. The research proposed a theory of change and logic model. If you look at the Leadership Logic Model you will see that there are descriptors under the headings for:

  • What do good leaders bring?
  • What do good leaders do?
  • How do good leaders engage?

Many of these characteristics, behaviours and attitudes are essential in empowering and enabling others.

Having looked at the Citizen Leadership in Moray video:

  • What factors do you think have contributed to Holly being an active citizen leader?
  • Which of the logic model descriptors do you think Holly demonstrates in her leadership story?

Now, reflecting on your own experience and practice:

  • Think about an occasion when you have helped someone to recognise and exercise their own strengths and abilities. This might be someone who uses your service, or a colleague. Alternatively you could draw on experience from your personal life.
  • Look again at the Leadership Logic Model. In the same way as you used the descriptors to appreciate Holly’s leadership, apply them to your own example of empowering others. In particular consider:
    • What do good leaders need? … How did your work environment support you to empower others?
    • What do good leaders bring? … What leadership qualities did you display in your empowering of others?
    • What do good leaders do? … What leadership behaviours did you demonstrate?
    • How do good leaders engage? … How did you go about building an empowering relationship with others?
    • How do people respond? … How did people respond to the way you supported and encouraged them?

Drawing on the example you thought about in step 4, write a statement (minimum 200 words) on what you have learned about empowering others. This should include reflection on how your own practice and leadership behaviours have empowered others.

You can provide the statement on the open badge application form or provide a link to your own *blog/portfolio. You may find it helpful to look at Recording Your Learning and Reflecting on Leadership.

*If you want to use a blog or ePortfolio entry as evidence, you might find our guide to preparing and publishing your evidence useful.

Click here to access helpful resources for Thing 8

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