3 Ways Leaders Can Empower People and Create Better Organizations

September 23, 2021


Elisia Choi

Recent global disruptions have made it more evident that organizational agility, or the ability to continuously delight customers and inspire employees in the midst of emerging challenges, is imperative to an organization’s survival. While many leaders only implement processes in hopes of building organizational agility, leaders that have helped organizations thrive in the midst of change are those who built organizational agility through the collective agility of people. This requires supporting people through their own transformational journeys and helping the organization shift to an empowered, human-centric culture.

Transformational learning helps organizations make this shift and guide people on a journey that builds agility across a variety of disciplines and organizational areas. Through people development, leaders can unlock the potential in people and teams and enable high levels of organizational success. Here are the three key themes that leaders should focus on.

1. Shift from people management to people development

When leaders focus only on managing people and not on developing people, they impede the organization’s ability to increase its agility. For an organization to thrive, leaders must recognize that people are the catalyst for agility because the organization’s agility depends on the personal agility of individuals in every role and at every level. 

This shift doesn’t happen overnight; it requires us to unlearn people management approaches and embrace an agile mindset while empowering and developing the people in our organization. 

2. Develop leadership in others

Successful organizations build leadership behaviors and attitudes at every level, regardless of title or role. To do this, leaders need to co-create growth and development plans with individuals in such a way that connects with their passions and interests and aligns with organizational needs and pathways. 

It’s also important to focus on development from day one to instill a culture of learning and development from the start. 

"Successful organizations build leadership behaviors and attitudes at every level, regardless of title or role."

3. Create an environment that promotes team development

Developing people can’t happen in a vacuum. It must be considered in relation to the development of teams and how it interacts with the overall system of the organization. The role of leadership is to consider factors that have been shown to promote team development, such as self organization, collective ownership, and team accountability. As teams are created and continue to evolve, leaders also need to be mindful of these factors and consider how to shift their leadership style to meet the changing needs of the team. 

Getting started with people development

Regardless of your role, it’s important to support the development of people in your organization. Not only does it help unlock their potential, but it unleashes the organization’s ability to survive and thrive in challenging environments. 

Explore ICAgile's People Development (ICP-PDV) certification.

Editors note: This article was originally published September 2, 2021, on

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Leading Change, People Development

About the author

Elisia Choi | ICAgile, Senior Director of Marketing
Elisia is the Senior Director of Marketing at ICAgile where she is responsible for leading the marketing team and supporting all aspects of ICAgile’s marketing efforts, including strategy, customer communications, branding, and media relations. She has more than 15 years of experience in strategic communication across various industries including finance, tech, energy efficiency, and fashion. She has won numerous awards and has landed media coverage for high-profile brands such as Microsoft, Bing, and the Port of San Diego.