Organisations are made up of individuals brought together to enable it to achieve its mission. The organisation’s structure will determine how these individuals work together in teams and how they relate to one another. For an organisation to be successful, it is important that every individual in the organisation is working towards the same goal.
Leaders have an important role to play in coordinating and integrating the activities of these individuals and teams, ensuring that they are aware of the organisation’s priorities and that they are working towards them. Leaders achieve this not only through the authority delegated to them within the organisation’s hierarchy, but also by being charismatic, knowledgeable and respected leaders who inspire and motivate.
Leaders who give power to others can be very influential and motivating. When leaders use their power to help others accomplish great things, people often want to work very hard for them.
When you empower someone, you’re essentially saying that you trust that person. When people feel trusted, they may naturally want to take on more responsibility for the outcome, because they’ll share in the spotlight when success is achieved.
Empowerment, then, is a great motivator, and it can be used to recognise the efforts of team members. When leading your peers, be creative with reward and recognition – sometimes assigning a task or granting a level of authority can serve as a very effective reward.
Teams are, of course, made up of individuals, so an empowered team will only be successful if the individuals themselves are ready and willing to take on the extra responsibilities that empowerment brings. Power isn’t just another thing that you can delegate – it is an entirely individual choice. It will only be accepted if you create a suitable culture for empowerment in the first place.
As a manager you will also need to learn how to let go and what to hold on to. You will need to learn how to move from a manager to a coach and a facilitator and how to empower and champion your team and the process it is going through.
Building a self-directed team can be both a challenging and a rewarding process. It is not a quick fix and it will take time and dedication in order to bring this change about.
The benefits of empowerment are many. They include higher levels of employee satisfaction, a sense of shared purpose, and greater collaboration. The overall result for the organisation is to deliver enhanced value to the customer.
It is worth it. You too can make it happen.