I work with a lot of business owners and CEOs (and am one myself). I’ve encountered quite a few who think that delegating without clear instructions or clearly tying an employee’s responsibilities to the company’s goals is empowerment. It is not. Delegating like that is more like abdication. With abdication you do NOT get the same results as empowerment. Here is an excellent article by Bruno Raynal that goes into detail about the difference and the actions you can take to begin to foster an environment of employee empowerment.
Are You Empowering Your Employees?
If you’re a CEO or a manager, one of your many desires is likely to have enthusiastic, committed, empowered employees who take initiative with little direction on your part. Unfortunately, as an employer, it can be easy to confuse delegation with empowerment. It may not dawn on you until it’s too late that delegation does not necessarily give employees the freedom needed for independent action to take place. You can’t simply “give” your employees power and hope for the best.
So, what can you do? You can foster an environment in which employees not only understand the company’s vision and goals, but also feel like they have the power to be proactive and do whatever is required to achieve them. In other words, you can start empowering employees to do what is needed to accomplish company goals.
Empowering Employees: It Starts With You
How are your leadership skills? What are you doing to inspire the best work ethic and commitment in your team? You can’t expect your employees to believe in your company if they don’t see you committed to its advancement as well. Create a stable atmosphere by staying committed to your work, principles, and people, and remember to keep the communication lines open by regularly speaking with your staff to reiterate the mission, goals, and expectations of the company.
As always, offer as much information as you can with regards to a particular task or assignment. Check back often with individual team members to make sure they understand their roles. Remember that confident leadership and open communication are the cornerstones of good management and that your time will be rewarded with better performance.
Empowering Employees: Face-To-Face Time
Email is quick, but its ease-of-use is not always personable and effective. Although it’s one of the fastest methods to communicate, avoiding email in favor of sitting down with an employee once a week can have a major impact by showing that you truly care about your employees, their work, and their concerns. If that simply means stopping by their desk for a few minutes each day or closing your door to discuss area for improvement, a brief chat can provide an employee with the confidence needed to produce the results you want to achieve.
Empowering Employees: Don’t Be An Autocrat
What is distinct about autocratic managers? They’re noticeable by the way they micromanage their staff. Micromanaging diminishes an employee’s self-confidence and reduces his ability (and more importantly, his desire) to take initiative and think for himself. Instead, a mindset of empowering employees leads to better problem solving, communication, conflict resolution, and time management.
Empowering Employees: Give Staff Freedom
Traditionally, it was assumed that most of the knowledge and expertise within a company resides at the top with the CEO, VPs, and managers. As a company leader, do your part to flip that tradition on its head to show front-line employees that management not only understands what it is asking of employees, but is also willing to roll up its sleeves to do whatever it takes to achieve company goals down in the trenches.
As you begin the process of empowering employees, remember that the action of “empowering” means very little outside of simply giving your team freedom. Put trust in your employees to make the right decisions, and then stand back and watch them rise to the occasion to be individually productive and to work together as a team to achieve performance objectives and advance your company.
Learn more about empowering employees to take your company to the next level by visiting www.ThinkBlueThinking.com or calling 619.550.8052.
About the Author: Bruno Raynal is the president and CEO of Blue Thinking, a business consulting firm based in San Diego, California. Bruno works with top level senior management to enhance their awareness of modern business practices and patterns so they can make informed choices, take the right action, and achieve their vision and goals. Learn more about Blue Thinking by visiting http://www.ThinkBlueThinking.com or calling 619.550.8052.