Empowerment is conditional. Empowerment is bestowed.
Even if you have all the personal attributes required---humility, vision, connect-ability, ethics, patience, integrity, leadership and confidence to name a few---they serve no purpose and bear no fruit in the wrong environment.
A lab tech I'll call Ernie worked alone on second shift at a small county hospital. A hallway separated the lab: the hematology, microbiology, urinalysis, coagulation and blood bank departments on one side, chemistry and the outpatient drawing area on the other. Both sides had a phone, but only one worked. Multiple work orders to the maintenance department filed by the lab manager were ignored. For months, whenever the phone rang, Ernie would have to stop whatever he was testing, regardless of its urgency, and run across the hall to answer it. It delayed test results, impeded patient care, and stressed Ernie out of his mind.
One particularly hectic night Ernie took matters in his own hands. Around the corner from the lab was a bank of five unused phones at a nurse's station that had been closed long ago. He took one and replaced the dysfunctional phone with it. In a matter of minutes, Ernie accomplished what the maintenance department couldn't do in months, doubling his productivity, increasing test-result turnaround times and reducing his stress level dramatically.
The next day his manager slapped him with a written reprimand. She felt it was not his job to fix the phone issue.
Those who bring every element essential for empowered employment into an environment hostile to those elements will never have empowerment bestowed upon them until either their manager moves on or they do. Their gifts remain dormant, unused, and asleep, and they are forced to choose whether or not to remain oppressed, underutilized, and ineffective.
Ernie ultimately left his oppressive employer and landed a management position in fertile ground that produced abundant fruit for many. While it is often said you grow where you're planted, sometimes you have to plant yourself where you'll grow.