Self-Aware Leadership: Striking the Balance Between Facilitation & Empowerment

In the aviation industry, there is a delicate equilibrium that exists within the cockpit of an aircraft where the captain and co-pilot work together to ensure the successful completion of a flight while fostering their own growth and learning. In its ideal state, the cockpit serves as an exemplary model of balance between facilitation and empowerment.  

Pilots collaborate to achieve a shared goal at the same time as forwarding their individual growth. In a simplified form, the captain facilitates the overall flight operations, ensuring the team’s safety, coordinating with air traffic control, and managing the aircraft’s systems. Meanwhile, the co-pilot takes responsibility for critical tasks, collaborates on decision-making, and supports the captain. This balance allows the crew to operate efficiently and maximizes their collective potential.

Exploring this dynamic allows us valuable insights into maintaining balance, empowering others, and embracing personal strengths – a balance between facilitation and empowerment not only essential in the professional world but that extends to various areas of life, including family, partnership, and personal relationships.

Finding Professional Balance

In today’s fast-paced and dynamic business landscape, self-aware leaders recognise the importance of fostering a safe, productive, and inspiring space for their teams. However, they also understand the value of enabling individuals within that space to take ownership of their work and tap into their strengths. By striking the right balance between facilitation and empowerment, leaders optimise their team’s potential while conserving their own time and energy to focus on their own strengths – the strengths they are ultimately in their position of leadership to implement.

Let’s explore some strategies for achieving this delicate equilibrium.

1. Cultivate Trust and Psychological Safety

The foundation of any successful team begins with trust and psychological safety. Self-aware leaders create an environment where individuals feel safe to voice their ideas, share their concerns, and take calculated risks. By fostering an atmosphere of trust, leaders allow their team members to step into their own strengths, taking ownership of their work and driving their personal growth.

2. Clearly Define Expectations and Goals

Effective leaders understand the importance of setting clear expectations and goals. By providing a clear roadmap for success, leaders empower individuals to take responsibility for their work. Clearly defining outcomes, deadlines, and deliverables not only ensures everyone is on the same page but also allows team members to align their individual strengths with the team’s objectives.

3. Encourage Collaboration and Autonomy

While leaders play a crucial role in facilitating collaboration and teamwork, they must also recognize the significance of individual autonomy. Empowering team members to make decisions and contribute their unique perspectives fosters innovation and creativity. By giving individuals the freedom to explore their own ideas and approaches, leaders unlock the full potential of their team, reducing the need for constant oversight and micromanagement.

4. Leverage Strengths-Based Leadership

Self-aware leaders understand that each team member possesses unique strengths and talents. By identifying and leveraging these strengths, leaders can delegate tasks and responsibilities more effectively. By aligning individual strengths with project requirements, leaders create an environment where team members can excel, taking ownership of their work and delivering exceptional results. This approach not only maximizes productivity but also allows leaders to focus on their own strengths and areas of expertise.

5. Provide Feedback and Growth Opportunities

Leaders must actively provide constructive feedback and growth opportunities to their team members. Regular feedback sessions help individuals understand their strengths and areas for improvement. By offering guidance, support, and mentorship, leaders enable their team members to develop their skills and build confidence. As team members grow and take on more responsibility, leaders can gradually delegate tasks, freeing up their time to focus on strategic initiatives and higher-level decision-making.

The strength of a leader is lost if they spend their time managing and directing people rather than implementing their own unique gifts and insights.

6. Lead by Example

Self-aware leaders recognize that their behaviour sets the tone for the entire team. By demonstrating trust, accountability, and a growth mindset, leaders inspire their team members to do the same. Leading by example includes modelling self-awareness, continuously learning, and seeking feedback. When leaders take responsibility for their own growth and development, it encourages team members to do the same, fostering a culture of personal accountability and empowerment.

Finding the balance between facilitating a safe, productive, and inspiring space for your team while allowing them to take responsibility for their work is a complex but crucial task. Empowering team members to step into their strengths not only enhances productivity and creativity but also allows leaders to focus on their own strengths, driving the success of the entire organization.

Finding Personal Balance

1. Extending the Balance to the Family Home

The balance between facilitation and empowerment is as vital in the family home as outside of it. Just as a captain guides and facilitates the flight, a family leader creates a safe and nurturing environment for their loved ones. This involves setting clear expectations, encouraging open communication, and fostering trust. However, it is equally important to empower each family member to take responsibility for their actions, contribute their strengths, and engage in decision-making processes. By embracing this balance, family leaders foster an environment where everyone can grow, learn, and thrive.

2. Partnership: Balancing Support and Autonomy

Partnerships, whether in business or personal relationships, require a delicate balance of support and autonomy. Leaders in partnerships must facilitate effective collaboration, encourage open dialogue, and ensure mutual growth. At the same time, it is crucial to empower each partner to bring their unique strengths to the table, make decisions, and take ownership of their contributions. This balance cultivates an environment where partners can thrive individually while working together toward shared objectives.

3. Embracing Personal Growth and Learning

Personal growth and continuous learning are essential elements of maintaining balance. Self-aware leaders seek feedback, reflect on their actions, and adapt their approach to better support and empower others – be that personally or professionally. By modelling self-awareness and a growth mindset, leaders inspire their team members or family partners to do the same. This creates a culture of continuous improvement and personal accountability, where everyone is encouraged to step into their strengths and contribute their best.

4. Challenges and Overcoming Obstacles

Maintaining a balance between facilitation and empowerment is not without its challenges. Leaders in any arena may face resistance, conflicting viewpoints, or the fear of relinquishing control. However, these obstacles are navigated with open communication, and by embracing diverse perspectives and addressing concerns proactively. Building resilience and fostering a growth-oriented culture allows individuals, partnerships, and teams to adapt, learn from setbacks, and continue their journey towards success.


The balance between facilitation and empowerment serves as a fundamental principle in various aspects of life. Whether it’s in the cockpit of an aircraft, the family home, or the professional world, striking this delicate equilibrium enables individuals to thrive, contribute their strengths, and embrace personal growth. By cultivating trust, setting clear expectations, encouraging collaboration and autonomy, leveraging strengths-based leadership, and leading by example, we can empower those around us while staying true to our own strengths.

Ultimately, this balance creates an environment where everyone can reach their full potential, fostering personal and collective success in every aspect of life.

by Christen Killick

June 19th, 2023

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