Enlightened Leadership – Ownership and Empowerment

One of the aspects of Enlightened Leadership as defined by Ed Oakley and Doug Krug is found in Ownership (Oakley & Krug, 1991).  In ownership, many people will put extra time, effort and money into projects that they feel belong to them so as to have a positive effect and outcome on their projects (Hynes, 2011).  In the business world the concept of ownership is often developed through commissions, bonuses and percentages that provide employees with rewards for their harder work and added efforts.  The public sector, with its political oversight and bureaucracy is often seen as having a more difficult time developing employees who feel ownership in their projects or tasks.  Unenlightened supervisors feel the need to manage, or in some cases micromanage, their subordinates – effectively destroying any potential for ownership.  Enlightened leadership would allow officers ownership of their beats as “nothing can motivate an officer to spend time investigating a crime or getting to the residents more than the idea that the beat belongs to him” (Hynes, 2011).

A second aspect of Enlightened Leadership is in Empowerment (Oakley & Krug, 1991).  In their reviews of Oakley and Krug’s work, Wilton found communication to be an essential aspect of quality leadership (Wilton, 2011) and Chopra encouraged leaders to become better, more enlightened leaders through looking, listening, taking the time to be quiet and being action-oriented (Goudreau, 2011).  Chopra further tells us that empowerment of subordinates has a significant impact on their work engagement.  A supervisor who ignores subordinates increase the employees’ disengagement by 45%, a supervisor who criticizes subordinates increase disengagement by 25% and a supervisor who notices a subordinates’ strengths reduces their disengagement down to 1% (Goudreau, 2011).  Further, employees will often initiate positive change within their work product when they are empowered by supervisors to take charge of tasks (Hynes, 2011).  Based on these concepts, it can be interpreted that Enlightened Leaders focus on noticing the strengths of their employees; match those strengths to tasks, projects and positive change within an organization; and empower their employees through guidance, mentoring and the necessary tools to carry out those tasks and projects.  Once empowered, employees become more able and willing to take pride and ownership in their work.

While alien to paramilitary structures such as law enforcement agencies, effective uses of the aspects of Enlightened Leadership in police agencies across the country have shown that the system merits additional implementation and use within the law enforcement community.


Goudreau, J.  (January 12, 2011).  Deepak Chopra on Enlightened Leadership.  Retrieved from Forbes Magazine at blogs.forbes.com.

Hynes, J.  (n.d.).  Transition to the Enlightened Leadership model and Its Application to the S.A.R.A. Model.  Retrieved on February 12, 2011, at ottawa.blackboard.com.

Oakley, E. and Krug, D.  (1991).  Enlightened Leadership – Getting to the Heart of Change.  Fireside, New York, NY.

Wilton, J.  (n.d.).  Three Significant Components of Enlightened Leadership.  Retrieved on February 13, 2011, at ezinearticles.com.

© 2011 – 2014, Jeremy Liebbe. All rights reserved.

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About the author

Jeremy Liebbe holds a Master of Science in Forensic Psychology, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Police Science, and is currently completing a Doctorate of Philosophy in Psychology. He has over a decade of law enforcement investigative experience as a detective sergeant with experience including narcotics, crimes against children, and homicide investigations. As a result of his expertise in complex criminal investigations and forensic mental health Jeremy has earned numerous commendations, lectured throughout Texas and in several other states, authored and co-authored over a half dozen published papers, and has provided expert testimony in over a dozen felony trials.