This article, Empower Employees To Be Experts by Bryan Holt, is about another benefit of employee empowerment – the cultivation of internal experts. Enjoy. – TCW
Many employees in the workplace are skilled, competent, and high-performing. They take pride in their jobs, and have unmatched knowledge at their craft. It seems though that when approached, or asked about their job, they are timid with their response. This timidity identifies underlying issues. Lack of confidence seems to play a role in this issue. It is an issue because this lack of confidence stems from a certain degree of uncertainty, either personally or professionally.
Recently, I engaged an employee about the steps to take to complete a job. I had no experience in this job, but deferred to him because he did the job proficiently on a daily basis. When asked about the steps, he deferred me to his manager. This seemed odd to me, an employee who performs well at their job, defers questions on execution to his manager. He also went on to tell me that his manager did not care how he did his job, just that it got done.
This is alarming, because it does matter how you do your job. This manager has a boss, and I suspect his boss does care how this job is executed. It is also alarming because the worker seemed to have no confidence in his abilities. Now I had zero previous knowledge of this job, and only wanted direction in doing things the right way, but I discovered in addition to a lack of confidence, that there may be managerial issues at play also.
The culture of the environment in which we work is integral to sustained, long-term performance. Managers play a pivotal role in the promotion, and consistency of that culture. I have been a part of positive, active listening cultures, and also negative, you are just a number cultures. I guarantee the positive culture is more productive.
Managers should encourage their team members to take ownership of not only their job, but of the company as a whole. In order for employees to take this ownership, management must create, and promote, an open, welcoming environment. When management practices strong communication skills, team members feel more empowered to make a positive impact. Managers that tell their team members it does not matter how they do their job, may as well say they do not care about the team member. This also makes the team member vulnerable when approached by higher levels of management.
Managers have to encourage their team members to be the experts of their jobs. They must provide direction, and be willing to listen, and act on any suggestions that may help the job process. This style of management behavior will promote a welcoming, comfortable environment, for the team member to communicate. Suppression of team members and their ideas only lead to a negative environment. This also leads to decreased productivity.
As I processed the reasons why this team member would not take it upon himself to explain to me the job, I pondered the confidence level this employee had within. Did he not believe in himself, even though he knew the job process proficiently? Was he worried that I would possibly make a misstep and blame him? Was he told to just work, and defer any questions?
Managers have the ability to promote and encourage a positive work environment, but they also can impact the self-confidence of a team member. It was possible this team member just had low self-confidence. Regardless of his consistent performance, he had convinced himself that maybe he didn’t know the job well. Managers who pay attention to their team members can pick up on this. When this is recognized, managers can approach the person with an encouraging dialogue, ask for feedback from them, and possibly give an evaluation, if applicable, stressing the good job the team member has performed. Being consistent in this approach will positively affect the employee.. Empowering employees to be experts can lead to productive, positive work environments, but most importantly it can lead to increasing one’s self-confidence, which can positively affect their personal life.
About the Author:
For more information on the author, Bryan Holt, refer to: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Bryan_Holt/2402394