The Wizard of Oz is a story about self-awareness and empowerment. While the characters of Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow see themselves as victims of circumstances, they gradually learn that they possess the power within themselves to get what they want. Initially believing that they were victimized by their shortcomings and powerless to change their situations, they set off on a journey to find the Wizard. Surely the “great and all-powerful” Wizard would grant them what they needed to deal with their uncertainties. However, upon arriving in Emerald City after a treacherous journey, Dorothy’s dog, Toto, drags back the curtain to reveal the powerless Wizard whose only talent is pulling levers and blowing smoke. It is not until the end of the story that these lovable characters realize one of the most important lessons in life -- fulfillment and success are not in the hands of some magical source, they are within oneself.
In the Wizard of Oz, it is apparent that Dorothy, the Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow spend most of their journey stuck trying to get the Wizard to grant their wishes, but not feeling successful. In other words, they hit the wall over and over - one of the worst feelings, especially at work.
Do you sometimes find yourself frustrated because you possess the potential to do more but lack the authority, resources, and/or voice? Working in this state leads to demoralization, reduced productivity, and disengagement.
So, what is empowerment? And why is it so important? It is having the authority, autonomy, ability, and control over your day-to-day activities. This includes having a voice in strategy, tactics, solutions, and ultimately, outcomes. There is a direct correlation between empowerment and job performance, satisfaction, and commitment to an organization. When you feel empowered, you:
- Go the extra mile for your team and organization
- Take ownership of your work
- Generate creative ideas
- Find meaning and purpose at work
- Take prudent risks to take your organization to the next level
- Become a brand ambassador for the firm
- Feel more motivated and engaged
Self-awareness and empowerment...lessons learned in the Land of Oz!
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