Management often boils down to the dynamic created between the manager and his or her staff. Employee empowerment is the ideal of the modern day manager yet it can be very difficult to attain. Here are 5 ways managers can help their staff to become more empowered.
1) Emails, in-trays, folders and files – It sounds silly but little things like employees having their own company email address can have a big effect on the way they think and view their job. All managers have things like in-trays, personal folders and computer based folders, why not employees? Studies have shown that implementing these ideas can increase employee ownership (and therefore empowerment) massively.
2) Give staff projects to work on – When staff are always simply the tools to help a manager fulfil his or her objectives they don’t often feel engaged in the job. By putting individual members of staff in charge of small to medium sized projects you can really make them feel empowered and valued. Getting them to report to the team about the progress made is a good way to make them feel like a manager themselves.
3) Targeted Training – Don’t assume your staff know everything! They don’t. The modern manager needs to quiz his or her staff frequently to find out what it is they don’t know. When this is established, the manager can engineer specific training that responds to their needs. Training and support in general are the key to empowerment.
4) Let them get it wrong – Power is the ability to make mistakes! Really. Have you ever done something as a manager you wish you hadn’t? Sacked the wrong person. Kept the wrong person. Well these were your mistakes to make. And we live and die by them. If a member of staff is to be truly empowered then he or she will have to be allowed to make mistakes and have the benefit of learning from them.
5) Don’t make their decisions for them – For employees to feel empowered they will need to be able to genuinely participate in the decision making process. The manager should be more like a guide than a boss, helping them to decide the correct course of action at any given moment.
Empowerment is an amazing tool for getting the most out of employees yet it is often only spoken about rather than acted upon. For a manager to genuinely empower his or her employees requires courage as power is being devolved away from a place where a manager can at least feel he or she knows what is going on to a place where you are waiting on good and accurate reporting and decision making from employees.