I recently stayed at the Gaylord Texan Resort for the Vistage International Conference. I woke up early to work out and discovered the fitness room was already crowded. I decided to take a power walk through the atrium area, which includes 4.5 acres of indoor gardens and winding waterways. While I walked, I thought about how the controlled indoor environment allowed me to put aside any worries, and just focus on my thoughts and my workout. I did not have to think about whether it was cold or rainy, or if any wild animals might be lurking, or if I might get lost. I had the freedom to wander where I chose, and I felt completely safe in the knowledge that someone at the hotel was watching what was going on outside and would certainly notify me if an external threat approached. The freedom from external worry was invigorating!
What if your employees had an opportunity to feel that same sense of freedom and peace? What if they were able to focus on their job without distraction or worry? What if they felt completely safe, knowing that their leaders were monitoring external threats and would notify them immediately if a threat approached? What if they were empowered to try new ideas that might lead to better results? Create this type of environment for your employees and watch both morale and productivity soar.
Yes, the driving question is … “What if they were empowered to try new ideas that might lead to better results?”
KEY PROVISIONS OF EMPLOYEE EMPOWERMENT:
AN OPERATIONAL DEFINITION
EMPLOYEE EMPOWERMENT EXISTS IN THOSE ORGANIZATIONS WHERE SENIOR MANAGEMENT PROVIDES EMPLOYEES WITH:
* ACCESS TO CRITICAL BUSINESS INFORMATION.
* TRAINING TO EFFECTIVELY USE THE INFORMATION AND PERFORM IN THEIR JOBS.
* AUTHORITY AND DISCRETION TO TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION.
* OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE VALUABLE CONTRIBUTIONS AND KEY DECISIONS.
* RECOGNITION FOR ACCEPTING AND EXERCISING THE RESPONSIBILITY NECESSARY TO EFFECTIVELY PERFORM IN THEIR JOBS AS WELL AS HELPING OTHERS ACCOMPLISH WORK.
Excerpted from John Younker’s. “Determining Your Organization’s Employee Involvement & Empowerment Strategy,” Tapping The Network Journal. Quality & Productivity Management Association, Vol. 5, No. 3, Spring 1995.)
Thanks, John. You highlight many areas where companies fall short in allowing their employees to thrive.
Wanted to share these thought from Lee Thayer. It is about making things possible and necessary in a organization so that people can empower themselves. We can’t empower anyone. I can’t empower you to be a virtuoso pianist or jazz guitarist or elite 1500 meter free style champion swimmer.
These are words from his book: The Competent Organization:
The competent individual— is self-empowered. The power comes from his or her competence.
It is not power over other people. It is power over oneself. To be highly disciplined provides its own power—both of action and of attraction.
The competent person is also relevant. He or she is relevant to a worthy cause which is greater than they are. This kind of relevance provides status. It provides status in one’s own eyes, which is the best and most resilient status there is.
Relevance for the right reasons enhances life. Irrelevance impoverishes life.
It is the right choice that empowers.
Thayer, Lee (2011-10-27). The Competent Organization (pp. 53-54). Xlibris. Kindle Edition.
Thanks, Ozzie. Yes, the first step is hiring competent employees who can thrive in an environment that allows them to be empowered.
It is a valid point you make. However, under the umbrella of an organisation that seems powerful, we get carried away in thinking we can control everything. And somethimes tend to ignore the cost of that control because it is being paid by someone else. Then there is also the issue of mushroom-management, employees thriving while the control exists, but struggling as soon as the world changes a little bit. Hence, caution is suggested.
On a similar theme of control, a post from a Blog I write about people behaviour in corporates:
Thanks, Ankur. I agree that there is a delicate balance for the organization to maintain. Too much control is deflating to the employees and self-defeating for the organization.