Shaking Hands

Empowered workers change the workplace dynamic and atmosphere. When team leaders or supervisors trust their members to accomplish goals and complete projects independently, those members feel empowered. When supervisors allow their people to plan and manage their own work processes, employee communication, and engagement magic happen in the workplace. Empowered people feel more confident and encouraged to share ideas freely. They also feel seen and sincerely appreciated, which promotes an increased connection with the project and company goals.

What is Empowerment?

In the most basic sense, empowerment or empowering another person simply means giving them the power and authority to do something. It’s about giving someone permission, the tools needed for the task, and the responsibility for the results. Empowerment is about work ownership, independent decision-making, trust, and accountability.

How to Empower your Team Members

Empowering members of your team starts with developing and supporting a positive company culture, where everyone is treated as equal, and communication flows freely. With a cooperative, non-judgmental atmosphere, where people feel respected, they will feel more powerful and worry less about taking on responsibilities.

Tips on Empowerment:

  • Encourage Problem Solving

When an employee brings a problem to the management or their team, leaders should ask that employee for possible solutions instead of just registering the information. When you are aware of a problem, chances are you have some thoughts on how to solve it. In response to a complaint or concern, managers or team leaders should develop the habit of responding with, “so what should we do about it?”

At first, team members might be surprised by the response, but over time, they will get the message that their ideas and thoughts are valuable, and they can become responsible for solving company problems. Eventually, people will come to management with a problem and some possible solutions. They will consider themselves part of the solution. That’s empowerment.

Consider including employee representatives in major planning meetings to encourage a problem-solving mentality. Bring in someone from each division, department, or project. When they see the company from a larger perspective, they think more about company goals, what’s possible, and how they fit in.

  • Establish Clear Goals and Parameters

Create rules and guidelines team leaders can follow when they assign or take a project on. Let everyone know how often they should deliver progress reports, for example. They should also know who to ask for help and how to get the necessary equipment and supplies.

Companies should establish rules about when people can handle problems independently and when they should discuss them with a team leader or the management team. For example, some companies set spending limits. A project manager can make decisions involving expenditures within those limits. Timetables and deadlines might be another consideration. Perhaps rules dictate that management be told when deadlines are in jeopardy.

  • Mentor Individuals Through Any Problems.

Being responsible for a project brings emotional risk with it, as in “what will happen if I fail?” Unfortunately, everyone has failed at something, and our reaction to failing depends heavily on how others see and treat the situation.

For example, if a supervisor commiserates with a team member who made errors and chalks the mistakes up to “being a non-perfect human” rather than” a screwup,” that team member feels okay about trying again. By a supervisor reviewing the individual’s steps and decisions and the two together deciding what went wrong, that individual will learn from mistakes and be brave enough to take on responsibility again in the future.

Why is Empowerment Important

There are three main benefits of employee empowerment, professional development and leadership training, better employee engagement, and attracting and retaining the best people.

1-Professional Development and Leadership Training

Professional development should always include empowering team members to try new things and get management guidance and feedback. While classes and study towards advancement help, team members learn a lot by taking on new responsibilities.

Companies with an eye on the future look for ways to train new leaders. Giving people experience in planning and decision-making teaches them to lead. When someone takes responsibility for a meeting, project, or initiative, they may not start with confidence, but they develop it. Even if things go wrong, a team member learns how to cope with a problem and do better in the future.

2-Improve Engagement

Empowering employees impacts employee engagement and how they feel about the company. Empowered team members feel more aligned with company goals and are more willing to put in extra effort when needed. They also think more about their work and share more ideas about improving processes and procedures.

When employees take ownership of their work, they want to do a great job. Their bond with the employer strengthens because they want to take pride in their accomplishments and those of the company.

3-Attract and Retain Top Talent

Today’s job market is extremely competitive, and hiring someone new costs companies time, money, and productivity. Companies with a reputation for employee empowerment and engagement attract and can choose from top job candidates.

Job seekers read reviews on various job sites like Glassdoor and Indeed to learn about a company’s culture and reputation before applying or accepting a position. Company reviews often reveal how empowered employees feel.

Once they join the team, these top picks will want to stay if their supervisors show trust in them and allow them to do what they do best. When people leave, one common complaint is they were frustrated by micro-management. They felt undervalued and thought they could have been more effective with less supervision.

Empowering everyone in your company spreads responsibility around and promotes open communication. It builds interpersonal trust and promotes freer idea exchange. When everyone has a part to play, and everyone is taking responsibility for their efforts, companies are stronger and the general atmosphere less judgmental, and more productive. People who feel empowered, feel confident, appreciated, and successful.


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