Episode #33: How Leaders Contribute to the Dysfunction of Disempowerment

Why is it that leaders keep themselves so busy that they don’t have time to deal with their people? And why, despite their position of power, do leaders struggle with asserting their authority and managing the performance of their employees?

It is all too common for employees to bring their personal issues to work with the expectation that their boss will take special care of them. This form of employee entitlement has some leaders avoiding their employees out of fear that they will not know how to handle the situation. Leaders are giving away their power to lead and are instead choosing the seemingly easier route, namely, to be “liked” by their employees. Yet these are the same leaders that end up drowning in employee and performance issues and are frustrated by employee entitlement, resistance, and opposition. Because leadership is fraught with challenges, leaders are abdicating their authority and giving away their power. After all, why would anyone spend time doing something that made them feel impotent?

In today’s episode, we discuss how leaders contribute to the Dysfunction of Disempowerment and share some practical tips you can use if your organization suffers from this dysfunction. We’ll also share real client stories that illustrate just how common it is to find this type of leadership behavior in organizations today. Tune in to learn about how leaders contribute to the Dysfunction of Disempowerment and how to recognize the symptoms in yourself and your organization!

If you want to know more about Anne & Heather’s work with dismantling dysfunctions in organizations and leadership behavior at Caliber Leadership Systems, check out:




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  • [01:32] Episode introduction and overview
  • [02:26] What is the Dysfunction of Disempowerment?
  • [14:20] Take responsibility for feelings, not leading
  • [18:42] Excessive inclusion in decision making
  • [23:31] Don’t see how their behavior contributes to poor performance
  • [29:22] Episode gem & practical takeaway
  • [31:32] Episode wrap up



  • Leaders give rise to the Dysfunction of Disempowerment when they give their power and authority away in an attempt to disguise their own incompetence, inexperience or inability to deal with the issues that are presenting being presented to them.
  • Rather than holding their decision-making authority, disempowered leaders busy themselves with tasks that make them feel competent, allowing and enabling employees to do things their own way. This fuels the flames of employee entitlement.
  • Focusing on performance instead of feelings, developing emotional intelligence, and building leadership skills increases the results you can achieve as a leader.
  • Do you feel like the leaders in your organization may be contributing to the Dysfunction of Disempowerment in your organization? Listen to the full episode to learn what you can do to start dismantling the Dysfunction of Disempowerment today!


"Deciding to compensate for poor performance instead of managing it is an act of self- disempowerment."
episode 18 quote tile 2 - "When acting from the Victim Leadership Persona, our power and sense of personal agency is taken away by seeing situations through a  lens of helplessness."
episode 18 quote tile 3 - "Self-disempowerment starts from within. Leaders need to recognize when they are keeping their self-esteem low."
episode 18 - quote tile 4 - "Leaders need to watch that they aren't being pulled into the position  of rescuer when interacting with employees."

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