Empowering your Team is a lot harder than just saying, “The Team is empowered to make their own decisions.” You have to make sure they’re really empowered, instead of you just saying so without having given them the power to actually make decisions and then acting on their feedback. Are you giving them opportunities to grow? Are you recognizing them and giving them appreciation? Are you giving them the support and tools they need to grow?
It’s important to recognize that employee engagement and employee empowerment are two different things.
Employee engagement—the degree to which employees are motivated by, passionate about and invested in the work they do
Employee empowerment—giving employees the authority to make decisions about their jobs. That can mean giving employees the authority to decide values, priorities, goals, plans, schedules, methods, hiring, training, etc. In the extreme, it can even mean giving employees the authority to decide their jobs and compensation.
The organizations that typically have the highest level of employee engagement are the very same organizations in which employees are empowered.
Ways to Empower Employees
Companies that are interested in empowering employees should act on the following:
Give employees a voice by regularly soliciting and acting on their feedback. Be aware that leaders are not the only ones with the answers. You have to empower employees to give feedback on what the Organization may need to do differently and how to move forward.
Provide opportunities for employees to grow through more autonomy, additional responsibilities, or even an entirely new role. This will empower employees to feel like they can make a change in what they’re doing.
Recognize employees frequently to increase their engagement and confidence in their own abilities.
And, of course, provide employees with the tools, training, and authority they need to excel.
- Accountability – Empowerment = Blame Environment
- Empowerment – Accountability = Low Performance
- Accountability + Empowerment = High Performance