Empowerment

by Phil Manington

Introduction

Empowerment is about releasing the potential of people. It can be viewed from two perspectives:

  • Managers want to empower their people – to give them empowerment; they will feel that they have been successful if team members take responsibility for doing the things required of them
  • People want to feel empowered – they want to take power; they will feel that they are empowered if they have control over their own working lives.

For empowerment to be successful, these two perspectives need to be aligned, so that what management want people to do matches what they themselves want.

Empowered employees develop loyalty and trust – they are proud to be working for the company and are eager to contribute to company success. They understand and believe in the company vision and generate ideas directly aimed at improving products and services.

Empowered employees have increased self-confidence and are keen to develop their own skills and also to find ways to make use of those skills to the company’s benefit.

The purpose of work is not to make money. The purpose of work is to make the workers, whether working stiffs or top executives, feel good about life.

Ricardo Semler

This topic examines what empowerment is and the benefits that accrue from empowered behaviour. It explains the key elements that make up an empowerment culture and describes the first steps you need to take to achieve success. It also provides a profile of an empowered organisation and a questionnaire to help you to assess where your current organisation lies on the empowerment scale.