Empowerment

by Phil Manington

How empowered is your team?

This self-assessment is divided into two sections – questions to ask yourself and questions to ask your team. It is not meant to produce a formal measurement of how your team rates on an empowerment scale. However, a suggested scoring method that will help you to establish areas where you want to develop is given below.

Exercise

For each question, give a rating from 1 to 5.

  1. Yes – this is true for most people most of the time.
  2. This is usually true for most people.
  3. This is occasionally true for most people.
  4. This is true for very few people.
  5. This is rarely true for anyone.

Questions for you

Questions for your team

Having completed the questionnaire, what do you intend doing differently?

For example, it might be that you have scored lots of twos and threes. If so, well done! You clearly have been successful in creating an empowering culture and it’s easy to identify some improvements that will move you closer to your vision.

On the other hand, there may be lots of fours and fives and it might feel daunting and difficult to know where to start. In such circumstances, it would be easy to be over-ambitious and want to take on too much (see Managers don’t appreciate the scale of the task). You will be more successful if you start small. Which aspects of the current culture would it be easy to change? Which actions might make a big difference? See First steps.

It might be that there is a considerable discrepancy between the answers given by different members of your team, or some significant differences between your perception and theirs. The specific actions you take will depend on where the discrepancies appear. Ask yourself whether you are being consistent in your dealings with members of your team (see The empowering management).

Our people are free to speak their minds, without fear. Two or three times a year we distribute a questionnaire called ‘What Does the Company Think?’ The results are published for all to see. We have people who agree with very little of what we think and are still here, unapologetic and unfettered. A touch of civil disobedience is necessary to alert the organisation that all is not right. We do our best to let [such people] speak their minds even though they often become thorns in our sides.

Ricardo Semler