Getting things done is what managers do; empowering people is how managers do it! 

We live in an era of high demand for quality managers.  Organizations expect managers to quickly develop agendas and use their entrusted positional power to produce results. We have been through the training sessions on empowering people, but what does “empower” actually mean?  Why should we do it?

Empower simple means to promoting ownership.  Here are 5 reasons why you should empower your workers.

1.  YOU WILL ENJOY IT.

Let us face it, being a manager is pretty cool.  Do you know what is cooler?  Being able to give others the chance to enjoy and learn the processes of being a manager.  You will be amazed at how deeply people get involved and react to being empowered to do their job when equipped properly.  Too often (we as managers) do not take time to enjoy empowering others.  I can recall the first time I was empowered by my supervisor to lead a project. What an awesome feeling it was to have the trust and support from my boss to make a difference.  Reflecting back, it was the attitude my manager showed that ultimately set the course.  Today as managers, we can share in the same experience with our workers and foster upcoming managers to grow and make a difference.

2.  YOU WILL GET THINGS DONE.

For years, I studied the art and science of management, cognitive theories, and contingency variables and factors.  Throughout all of my studies within organizations, two things were common.  First, management involves people.  Secondly, empowering people gets things done.  Studies show that workers that are empowered to do their job connect with the organization.  Managers that empower people to make decisions and trust that they will act in the best interests will see results well beyond the projected outcome.  Getting things done is what managers do, empowering people is how managers do it.

3.  YOU WILL HAVE AN INSTANT IMPACT.

Today the search for effective management of people is in high demand.  Instant and quick results with positive outputs are the expectation of every working environment.  People are not working just to work.  People what to feel important. Empowerment serves the human need of self-worth.  When I am asked, “What is the number one area that a manager should focus on?” I always reply, “Managers need to be totally committed to empowering employees daily.”  Research suggests that empowerment contributes to a greater initiative, motivation, workplace satisfaction, and commitment among employees (McIntosh, P., & Luecke, R. p. 103).

4.  YOU WILL IMPROVE COMMUNICATION.

Managers need to be intentional about rethinking their communication at work.  Great managers empower others through clear precise communication.  According to John Kotter, empowering people involves communication (1996, p. 115).  Many of us have made a self-priority to be heard in every area of our lives.  Empowerment creates open-communication between the manager and people.  Managers have the responsibility to create healthy working environments and skillfully balance the expectations of our social culture within the work environment.  Each one of us has experienced the feeling of being pushed to the margins; powerless to express our talents and skills.  Empowerment of employees removes the margins and makes communication with everyone efficient.

5.  YOU WILL DISCOURAGE THE LACK OF PARTICIPATION.

Are you having trouble getting people involved fully into a task?  Try not to motivate them, but empowering them.  I love Kenneth Blanchard’s quote in his book Empowerment Takes More Than a Minute (2001), “Empowerment isn’t magic. It consists of a few simple steps and a lot of persistence.”  Consider ways to impact the organization in a way to get everyone involved.  If done correctly, everyone is totally committed and supports full engagement within the organization.  Employees will seek less isolation and want the increased responsibility.  Empowerment aids in people reaching greater goals than what they thought they could achieve.

Managers empower your workers.  Be an influence that they will remember.   Promote ownership and have fun doing it.

Resources:

Blanchard, K. H., Carlos, J. P., & Randolph, W. A. (2001). Empowerment Takes More Than a Minute (Vol. 2nd ed). San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Kotter, J. P. Leading Change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1996.

McIntosh, P., & Luecke, R. (2011). Becoming a Manager. New York: AMA Self-Study.