Episode #34: Tips for Dismantling the Dysfunction of Disempowerment

Complain, complain, complain… We hear an endless myriad of complaints these days from leaders who believe that disengagement, lack of quality, poor work ethic, and entitled behaviors are the employee’s fault, and they have no power to do anything about it. When and why did leaders become so disempowered?

It seems that leadership powerlessness may have slowly crept in over the last decade on the heels of the popularity of the extreme version of laisse-faire leadership, otherwise known as Permissive Leadership (if you haven’t already, you must check out our Episode #13 – Dysfunctions of Permissive Leadership to learn more!). Clearly, if leaders want to play ‘good’ guys or gals and will keep abdicating or giving away their authority to decide, define, and hold employees accountable out of some notion that employees will be more productive, they will continue to have lots to whine about.

In today’s episode, we share some practical tips for dismantling the Dysfunction of Disempowerment that you can use if your organization suffers from this dysfunction. We’ll also talk about some of the common consequences to the organizations when leaders disempower themselves, reveal real client stories that illustrate just how common it is to find this type of leadership behavior in organizations today and teach you how to recognize the symptoms in yourself and your workplace! Tune in to make sure you don’t miss out on the gems we share this week.

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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Are you dealing with an organizational dysfunction you need help with? Or do you have a story you would like to share on our show? Contact us at [email protected].



  • [01:25] Episode introduction and overview
  • [02:21] What is the Dysfunction of Disempowerment?
  • [07:59] Take charge: create a leadership vision
  • [12:19] How to step out of your comfort zone
  • [16:56] Start developing leadership potency
  • [22:02] Drop a gem
  • [26:04] Episode wrap up



  • Disempowerment and impotence are characterized as a leader’s inability to take effective action, accompanied by feelings of helplessness and a leader’s perceived lack of power to change or improve a situation.
  • To empower yourself as a leader, you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You must learn to make difficult decisions and stand behind them, facing the consequences of errors and the pleasure of your successes. Stepping out of your comfort zone means making difficult decisions and not backing down when things get hard.
  • Leaving the comfort zone is hard enough as it is – don’t try doing it alone! Make sure you create a support system for yourself – reach out to a leadership coach or a mentor – to ensure you have help when working through defensiveness and resistance.
  • Do you feel like the folks in your organization are contributing to the Dysfunction of Disempowerment? 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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