Only Secure Leaders Give Power to Others– Employee empowerment is a strategy and philosophy that enables employees to make decisions about their jobs and take ownership.
The best Executive is the one who had sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and the self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.- Theodore Roosevelt
Common Reasons Why Empowerment Does Not Happen-
- Desire for Job Security- The number one enemy of empowerment is the fear of losing what we have. Weak Leaders worry that if they help their Team, they themselves will become dispensable.
- Resistance to Change- Most people do not like change, however, as a Leader you must learn to embrace change. A Legacy Leader will not only embrace change, but will learn to desire change and make a way for it. Change is progress, thus a Leader must become a change agent.
- Lack of Self-Worth- Self-conscious people are rarely good Leaders. Too often they focus on themselves, worrying how they appear, what others think and whether they are liked or not. They can’t give power to others because they feel that they have no power themselves.
Ways to Empower Your Team-
- Share the Vision- Help people feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves and their individual job. Do this by making sure they know and have access to the organization’s overall mission, vision, and strategic plans.
- Share Goals and Direction- Share the most important goals and direction for your Team. Where possible, either make progress on goals measurable and observable, or ascertain that you have shared your picture of a positive outcome with the people responsible for accomplishing the results.
- Trust People- Trust the intentions of people to do the right thing, make the right decision, and make choices that, while maybe not exactly what you would decide, still work. When employees receive clear expectations from their manager, they relax and trust you. They focus their energy on accomplishing, not on wondering, worrying, and second-guessing.
- Provide Information for Decision Making- Make certain that you have given people, or made sure that they have access to, all of the information they need to make thoughtful decisions.
- Delegate Impact Opportunities, Not More Work- Don’t just delegate the drudge work; delegate some of the fun stuff, too. You know, delegate the important meetings, the committee memberships that influence product development and decision making, and the projects that people and customers notice.
- Provide Frequent Feedback- Provide frequent feedback so that people know how they are doing. Sometimes, the purpose of feedback is reward and recognition as well as improvement coaching. People deserve your constructive feedback, too, so they can continue to develop their knowledge and skills.
- Solve Problems, Don’t Pinpoint People- When a problem occurs, ask what is wrong with the work system that caused the people to fail, not what is wrong with the people. Worst case response to problems? Seek to identify and punish the guilty.
- Listen and Ask Questions to Provide Guidance- Provide a space in which people will communicate by listening to them and asking them questions. Guide by asking questions, not by telling grown up people what to do. People generally know the right answers if they have the opportunity to produce them.
- Reward and Recognize for Empowered Behavior- The basic needs of employees must feel met for employees to give you their discretionary energy, that extra effort that people voluntarily invest in work.
Strange as it may sound, Legacy Leaders gain authority by giving it away.