Personal empowerment is the process in which we
gain the knowledge, skill-sets and attitude needed to cope
with the changing world and circumstances.
It is a process of transforming powerlessness and
increasing individuals' control over their lives.
Empowerment is a multi-dimensional, social process of increasing the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes. This process creates the power to use these choices in his or her own life, community and society, with individuals acting on issues that they define as important.
The individual is never blamed for his or her problems but is responsible for generating a solution.
The process of empowerment is a process which enables one to gain power, authority and influence over themselves, institutions or society. Empowerment is probably the totality of the following or similar capabilities:
• Having decision-making power of one's own
• Having access to information and resources to make proper decisions
• Having a range of options from which you can make choices
• Ability to exercise assertiveness in collective decision making
• Having positive thinking on the ability to make change
• Ability to learn skills for improving one's personal or group power.
• Ability to change others’ perceptions by democratic means.
• Involving in the growth process and changes that is never ending and self-initiated
• Increasing one's positive self-image and overcoming stigma
• Increasing one's ability in discreet thinking to sort out right and wrong
In short, empowerment is the process that allows one to gain the knowledge, skill-sets and attitude needed to cope with the changing world and the circumstances in which one live.
What are the Stages of Empowerment?
In this initial stage, individuals may be outwardly unaware of their problems or be in denial. Either way, they definitely do not want to appear broken or damaged. As a general rule, "Pre-contemplators" often wish other people would change, as in: "How can I get my superior to quit bothering me about my poor people skills? That's just who I am." or "Things will change during the next quarter when I get through this especially tough assignment."
Contemplators are aware that they face problems and are seriously thinking about grappling with these problems sometime within the next six months.
Individuals and organizations at this stage intend to take action within the next month. These individuals have taken personal responsibility for causing or contributing the need for change. In addition, these individuals have set a personalized measurable goal - a change that is under one's own control, rather than dependent on someone else's behavior.
In this stage, individuals and organizations are taking concrete steps to change their behavior, experiences, or environment, in order to overcome their problems. Because action often brings up feelings of guilt, failure, coercion, and yearning to resume old familiar behaviors, individuals and organizations typically need a lot of support during this period. A sobering statistic: at any given time, only 10-15 percent of individuals or organizations in the process of change are engaged in the action stage.
During this stage, individuals and organizations work to consolidate their gains and prevent relapse. It is important that individuals and organizations remember that all merger experiences are different. Assuming a one-size-fits-all approach will not work! Instead, assess the group as individuals, to determine their stage of change.
Go slowly. Anticipate backsliding. While the term "stages of change" suggests that change marches forward in a step-by-step, linear fashion, it actually occurs in a spiral pattern, meaning change comes in both forward and backward movement. This is normal and to be expected. Good leaders should educate their staff and clients about the inevitable spiraling nature of change to help counteract doubt, shame, and frustration about regressing to earlier stage.