Empowerment equals success – how can you create an empowered work environment?
Empowerment comes from within and typically it’s stemmed and fostered by self-assurance.To feel empowered is to feel free and that’s when people do their best work.
– Amy Jo Martin, CEO Digital Royalty –
What is the difference between highly successful companies and those that are struggling? In one word, empowerment. A company with a highly motivated and empowered workforce typically performs at a greater level than a company whose employees are dissatisfied and unappreciated, it’s common sense. So how do you move towards fostering empowerment at the office? Providing true empowerment means shifting away from traditional management styles. It requires constant and consistent energy, it’s not something that will change overnight. However, by implementing just a few simple changes, you`ll be well on your way to reaping dramatic results.
Vision – Adriana Girdler, CEO, CornerStone Dynamics, summed it up nicely with her take on vision statements. “A clear guiding vision is the strongest tool for empowerment, both for organizations and individuals. Without a clear vision statement, it’s easy to put effort into things that won’t contribute to progress. The vision is not the goal itself, but it helps to shape goals. Think of it as a long term outlook that embodies your highest values and aspirations. A good vision statement should inspire, show you where you want to go and should guide you in every decision you make.”
Vision provides common direction, making it much easier to plan strategically and take action. Once your company/team/department has a vision statement that has buy-in, belief, and is communicated at all levels, it’s much easier to move forward with…
Feedback – Employees must have feedback on their skills and abilities as it provides a solid foundation for improvement and success. An empowered workplace delivers endless opportunities for employees to learn and grow. Discuss strengths and weaknesses with employees, offering motivation for continued success and ideas for turning the weaknesses into strengths (NOTE: training is a great way to increase skills and abilities and to build an empowered workforce).
Eliminate micromanagement – It is truly the opposite of empowerment. It prevents growth, decreases confidence and creates indifference towards taking initiatives. Instead of micromanaging, offer guidance, compassion and mentorship, allowing employees to learn from their mistakes and take ownership for their actions. Discuss expectations, deadlines and offer guidance. Allowing room for growth and experience will provide exactly that – growth and experience!
Initiatives and decision making – An empowered employee feels confident in their thought processes, decision making abilities and is more inclined to take on responsibility and new initiatives. Leaders can encourage this type of behaviour by involving staff in the decision making process and communicating that it’s okay to make some mistakes and learn from them. Encouraging employee ideas and offering feedback goes a long way towards empowering the workforce.
Reward – How can you empower an employee when you don’t recognize their successes? Recognition and rewards go hand in hand with empowering your place of work. It’s simple, reward employees when they do well. Rewards can be anything from a raise or a promotion, to a gift card or a simple verbal recognition of a job well done. It doesn’t have to be elaborate but should be reflective of the work that’s been done or the targets that have been met.
As the center for Coaching and Mentoring says “The empowering work environment requires a set of values and beliefs that must be embraced and practiced by all levels of management.” Take their online quiz to see if you already support, or are on your way to creating an empowering work environment.
What do you do to empower people at your workplace? Feel free to leave a comment below or shout out to us on Facebook or Twitter. Of course, you could always write your own blog post on the subject and share it with us… We’d love to read it!