3 Keys to Empowering your Employees

Posted on November 18, 2011.

Most of us were promoted to management because we did our job pretty well. Which is why empowering others is one of the hardest things to do as a manager. Let’s be honest, does anyone really do things as well as you do? Empowerment can mean many things to many people. For the workplace, the best definition is found in the business dictionary, because it actually includes the phrase “sharing information, reward and power.  The key to moving from simple delegation to full empowerment is..

Most of us were promoted to management because we did our job pretty well. Which is why empowering others is one of the hardest things to do as a manager. Let’s be honest, does anyone really do things as well as you do? Empowerment can mean many things to many people. For the workplace, the best definition is found in the business dictionary, because it actually includes the phrase “sharing information, reward and power.  The key to moving from simple delegation to full empowerment is:

1. Sharing information.  If you want someone to really step up and feel empowered, not just dumped on, you need to provide him or her with all the information they need to complete the task. Not just the specific information on their piece of the project, but make sure they understand how the work fits into the bigger picture. People perform much better when they understand the impact their work has on the expected outcome.

2. Sharing the reward.  Reward doesn’t just mean monetary gain, but recognition as well.  Make sure he or she knows what the end result will mean to the team, the region or the company.  How will their efforts be recognized? If you are publicly acknowledged for a job well done, make sure you give credit where credit is due, and make sure it’s done publicly.

3. Sharing the power.  It might seem intuitive that you need to share power to empower, but you’d be surprised at how many managers will delegate a major project or task and not give the person the authority they need to complete it.  Managers are often uncomfortable with actually letting someone else take charge and lead and manage the people necessary to get the job done.  It feels threatening.  The end result is that the person needs to “check in” and ask you to ask others assist the person you’ve just “empowered”. What have you really accomplished here?

True empowerment is not easy. People WILL make mistakes.  Deflecting credit is even harder. But in the end, you have coached your employee to a higher level of performance, morale and retention are increased and you are freed up to take on increasingly bigger challenges.

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