Successful leaders and managers today are willing to exercise their leadership in such a way that their people are empowered to make decisions, share information, and try new things. Most employees see the value in finding empowerment and are willing to take on the responsibilities that come with it. If future leaders have the wisdom to learn from the experience of present leaders, and if present leaders have the wisdom to build an environment that empowers people, both will share in the benefits.
I think both leader and manager can empower their employees. Companies and leaders have increasingly implemented empowerment because of the benefits of empowered employees. Employees typically feel a stronger sense of ownership and worth when entrusted to make important decisions. This, in turn, makes them more productive in their roles. Customer benefits are also important. Customers who are angry or seeking resolution for a problem typically want that problem dealt with as quickly as possible and get frustrated when told that a manager is not available to help them and they will have to wait.
Empowering employees leads to organizational encouragement of entrepreneurial traits and prompts employees to make decisions, take action, and foster their belief that they can take control of their own destinies. This belief leads to self-motivation and a sense of independence that is translated into greater loyalty and extra effort for the organization. Empowered employees come to believe that they control their own success through their efforts and hard work, which in turn benefits the success of the entire institution.
Kanter’s theory of structural empowerment focuses on the structures within the organization rather than the individual's own qualities (Bradbury-Jones, Sambrook, & Irvine, 2007). Kanter believes that a leader’s power will grow by sharing the power through empowering others and as a result, leaders will realize increased organizational performance (Fox, 1998). Furthermore, Kanter posits that with tools, information, and support, people’s skill base will improve, they will increasingly make informed decisions and overall accomplish more, thereby benefiting the organization as a whole (Fox, 1998).
Kantor’s theory has proven to have measurable impact on both employee empowerment and job satisfaction as well as organizational morale and success.
There are a variety of ways in which one can view the concept of social empowerment, all of which lead to a more productive, engaged workforce.
Employee empowerment is basically what happens when employees and colleagues begin to work together in a group or team setting.
This can happen either within a physical office or via the Internet, the latter of which is made easy by social business software.
Social business software is a suite of tools that allows employees to communicate with each other, share files/documents and contribute to an organization's knowledge-base, regardless of where in the world they may live. Employees simply log into the social intranet, where they are updated with a home screen not unlike that which might be seen on any familiar social network. From here, they can begin to collaborate with one another and work to find solutions to whatever issues may be at hand.
It's already painfully obvious for many leaders and HR people just how problematic a lack of social empowerment can be, especially considering its effect on employee engagement.
Passionate employees are hard to describe, but we know them when we see them – though that doesn’t mean they all look and act alike. Here are several common characteristics of passionate employees:
- Bring their best self to work
- Possess a desire to continuously improve
- Focus on the opportunities instead of the obstacles
- Aren’t easily discouraged
- Driven to do their best
Passionate employees = Quality business. Creating passion at work is everyone’s responsibility, but the leader sets the tone for the team. Make being passionate a habit, and it’s likely that soon your teammates will follow suit.