What one thing could you accomplish today that would make tomorrow vastly better?
Reach an elusive goal?
Find another employer?
Whatever just came to mind, why can’t you accomplish it? There are only two answers to this question. You either don't have what it takes (permission, courage, time, or fire-in-the-belly) or you don't have the authority.
Not having what it takes is decision; it's self-imposed. If you lack the permission, have you asked for it? If so, and it was denied, then you now lack the authority (see below). But if you haven't asked for permission to fire, promote, set a goal, or reemploy yourself, why not? That's not leadership, it's impedership.
Empowered managers get out of their own way, and it's getting out of their own way that empowers them. They give themselves permission, they find the courage, they make the time and they build the fire inside that permits them to accomplish the one thing that makes for a vastly better tomorrow (VBT).
Not having the authority is different; it's an obstacle imposed by others. It's not a decision, it's circumstance. When circumstances out of your control get in the way of having a VBT, you're not long for disenchantment. The lack of authority changes when you're promoted, given more authority, or someone above you (who was your obstacle) moves up or out.
It's infinitely more difficult to make tomorrow a better day when the circumstances are out of your control than when you decide not to have what it takes. Empowered managers will settle for limited authority as long as they have hope what they need for a VBT is on the way. If not, they will go where it is more likely. They will get out of their own way. They lead themselves out of their own way.
Empowered managers don't just lead their staff, they lead themselves to a VBT. One way or another, they won't be denied.