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Empowering behaviour change and leadership

Empowerment was the subject of an international meeting of researchers and practitioners convened by GAP International in Stockholm in 1996. Since then we have continued to explore different elements of empowerment, and how they can be brought into play to enable anyone who wishes to successively adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.

We believe that empowerment is an essential element of programs for sustainable behaviour change. Only through conscious, empowered decisions are new, long-term habits established. This is a major difference between our programs, and 'campaigns'.

We have identified some major principles of empowerment, and integrated them into our programs. We also teach (and learn!) empowering coaching and facilitation; and how to write empowering text.

These principles extend also into leadership: the most successful examples of sustainable development tend to have empowering leaders. We enjoy and explore how this concept relates to other theories of leadership, for instance servant leadership.

Empowerment is about adventure, about exploring the largely unknown continent of the possible, both for us and for others. The adventure, this exploration, is as real and tangible as any journey of Magellan or Columbus. It takes us into deep space – inner space – and, just like the other form of space travel, brings a new perspective on ourselves and our world; our real world, the neighbourhood and community in which we live.


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