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  • By: Lynda Stephen

Empowerment - in the workplace!

It may seem obvious to some or debatable to others that to empower workers is vital for the growth and prosperity of a company. In either case, we all agree that employees are any business’s most valuable component! Really?

Is that not a sweeping statement considering how modern technology has advanced? Sure technology has had phenomenal growth, but people still have to manage the machines – they haven’t taken over yet! The only result for companies who are reluctant or slow to empower workers is that they will not be leaders in their respective fields of business. Do you want your business to lead, blazing a trail to new heights of achievement?

EMPOWERMENT is the way to do this.

• TOOLS – these are needed to perform tasks. Giving each person RESPONSIBILITY to make decisions, however small, is such a tool. Doing this demonstrates trust on the part of management and encourages members to strive towards progress and job satisfaction.

• TRAINING – go back to basics and introduce training programmes. It allows you to focus on crucial tasks of your own as a manager because once workers are trained they feel confident to do their duties efficiently.

• Ensure SUCCESS in the Training Programme by getting to know each member of your team. Have regular meetings with the group and individuals. It is how you get to understand the organisation’s challenges and find solutions that work for everyone.

• LISTEN – to people more than you speak. ”When you talk, you only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new”. “Dalai Lama”

• TIMING - Managers can only know when it is appropriate to empower when they take time, on a case by case basis, to know the team’s strengths and weaknesses. Understand that flexibility in this, is important to generate trust in management. Staff must also know that initially progress will be monitored to track success in the programme. Invariably, when progress is slow this is due to slackers who take advantage, and these must be removed or given a chance to change their attitude to their work.

• VALUE – As you get to know their strengths and weaknesses let members of the team know how valued they are by the company and how each person is affected by what others on the team do. It is also vital to acknowledge and show appreciation for what each person does for the team and the company. This way all members learn from each other, from the most junior members to the most senior.

• THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX – Can be learned. It is not a gift bestowed from on high! It is another tool to encourage your staff to meet challenges in an original way, as in changing an approach to a task, before seeking outside help. It is vital not to ignore or discard an idea that does not fit without showing appreciation for the effort. It encourages an employee to go back and return with a better idea.

• GAIN STAFF RESPECT AND APPRECIATION – by keeping workers informed about what is happening in the company, except for classified information. It engenders respect for you.

• Weakest Link – determine the weakest link in the team. If a member is at a point where extra support will turn their career to the right, then this must be provided, if not let them go to find their niche elsewhere.

• Convey to your team the full range of your responsibilities as a manager. In this way, everyone knows how you fit into the picture and what deadlines you require staff to meet. Without this, you cannot rely on them to deliver their tasks so that you can do the same.

• SOCIALISE – Take time to socialise with staff outside of work environment. This way you build your team by creating relationships that can result in long-term friendships way past anyone moving on to other jobs. Sad as it sometimes is to see good workers leave, the satisfaction of knowing you were part of their journey to growth and progress that also empowered them enough to move on, is reward enough.

Start today to take the challenge to empower your employees. You will only look back in amazement to see how far everyone has come!

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