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At every level of a company, employees want to feel valued and appreciated by leadership. Past generations of employers felt that increased salary was the way to build worker loyalty, but today’s workforce seeks greater engagement and sense of belonging in the company culture and operation. True empowerment is an essential part of today’s engaged workforce.
Empowering employees is giving each the means and permission to think creatively and take responsibility for the success of the company and themselves.
Barriers to Empowerment
It is common to believe that empowerment either lives or dies on the decisions and support of the business’ leaders. Some of the barriers to empowerment are:
Not every employee is a good candidate for empowerment. There are employees who are fantastic at their jobs, but absolutely shrink at the thought of having that much control over their tasks. Some people are high-performers in their role, but still need someone else calling the shots. Are these necessarily undesirable employees? If you require a degree of autonomy, yes. If the employee is essential to the function of your business, you can likely give them a pass.
Many managers see empowerment as a hands-off management style, but it is quite different. In many ways, empowerment requires more engagement, as managers must be sure employees have the proper tools, level of knowledge, and appropriate authority to carry out assigned responsibilities.
The impact to productivity by not empowering employees
When employees are tentative due to lack of confidence, knowledge, or authority, they are less productive than those who are empowered. Some business impacts include
What employers can do to increase productivity through empowerment
Employers, through some extra efforts, can create an independent and engaged workforce through:
Empowering must be weaved into the fabric of the company’s culture for it work. Managers must be willing to give up some control and not punish employees when they make mistakes.
Not every person or position is the right fit for large amounts of autonomy, so empowering has to be done judiciously with an extra dose of management until it is an accepted practice in your culture.
However challenging empowering is at first, the rewards are managers that are free to manage and employees who feel valued and trusted.
Contact Team Learning Services to discuss if empowering your teams is a good strategy for you. We can help get you on the right track, support you through the process, and measure successes.
David Koster is the owner and principle consultant of Team Learning Services. He has 30 years experience in the education and learning industry.