In almost every video game, there are special bonuses that convey advantages, such as more strength or firepower. These powerups can heal injuries, increase supremacy and accelerate a character’s ability to achieve the objectives and win a level or even the entire game.

Real-life powerups are available to leaders who foster interdependent relationships between all parties—managers, employees and co-workers. Interdependence creates a healthy dynamic where each individual does his or her part, versus a dependent relationship where one person, often the manager, shoulders all of the responsibility for making sure tasks are remembered and completed.

Powering up in this fashion requires:

  • Setting and communicating clear and reasonable expectations, since leaders are responsible for defining the objectives.
  • Instead of always telling people how to meet those expectations, asking instead how they plan to do it. Employees take greater ownership when they participate in determining how work gets done.
  • Once team members take responsibility for doing something, they keep it. Leaders undermine employees when they attempt to serve as their long-term memory.

True power as a leader comes not from how a manager wields authority, but in how he or she makes each person powerful by fostering personal responsibility, requiring people to keep doing the next right thing.

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