7.5 – Discussion: Empowerment     
   Post your response to the following:  Leaders use power and influence to empower their employees. In Max DePree’s (1987) book, Leadership is an Art, there is an example of how the leaders empowered their employees to make decisions regardless of the consequences. DePree is the chairperson of Herman Miller, Inc., a Michigan-based office furniture maker and the son of the firm’s founder. Based on these experiences, he has written several books on leadership styles based on respect for others and diversity. Respect of this nature ensures that the organization can benefit from everyone’s contributions. DePree also emphasized the difference between “hierarchical” and “roving” leadership. His point? Often it is the roving, or informal leader, who really counts. What do the hierarchical leaders do? If they are smart, they “support” the roving leaders and help them lead. DePree (1987) says: “Roving leadership is the expression of the ability of hierarchical leaders to permit others to share ownership of problems and to take possession of the situation.”  An example of how “roving,” “lateral,” and “bottom-up” leadership at Herman Miller inspired empowerment was provided by research manager Bill Foley’s decision to forbid the use of rosewood and Honduran mahogany in one of the firm’s hallmark products, the $2,000 plus Eames chair, because the use of these woods contributed to the destruction of the rainforests. Foley’s decision led to considerable debate, but ultimately it was supported. Foley claimed the company’s strong ethics and commitment to participatory management helped him feel empowered to make the decision. Herman Miller’s success at capitalizing on these strengths is apparent from its ranking as one of Fortune magazine’s “most admired” American Corporations. 

Use this example as a guide to describe your own experiences of empowerment in your professional and personal life. How did you feel about your experience? Was it a positive experience? Why or why not?  

200 words

Reference DePree, M. (1987). The art of leadership. New York: Doubleday.  

Read the posts of your classmates and reply to at least two of them. This is a gradable activity. Review the Discussion Rubric, which will be used to evaluate each discussion posting for this course.

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