I have devoted the last two decades of my life to the study and practice of leadership. During those two decades I have championed the importance of leaders developing the heart of followers while making sure they grow both personally and professionally through empowerment. Why? Because research suggests that when a follower feels empowered they have a greater likelihood of optimal or improved performance.
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Empowerment vs. Power Loss
Over the last thirty years research studies conducted by Kouzes and Posner of 1.3 million respondent’s point to a clear connection between leaders who enable their followers to act will outpace other traditional diplomatic or autocratic forms of leadership. These findings suggest the presence of empowerment creates opportunities for followers to thrive rather than negative implications of perceived power loss.
So, what does employee empowerment look like? Alan Randolph, of the Robert G. Merrick School of Business, defines employee empowerment as recognizing and releasing into the organization the power people already have in their wealth of useful knowledge and internal motivation. The goal of employee empowerment is to find ways by which all the employees at different levels in the organization can make decisions at their levels independently, without the need to refer them to their superiors.
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The Benefits of Empowerment
Empowering employees leads to organizational encouragement of entrepreneurial traits and prompts employees to make decisions, take action, and foster a belief they can take control of their own destinies. Here are four additional benefits of employee empowerment.
• Creativity and innovation
• Calculated risk-taking
• Open communication
At the end of the day, an empowered employee is generally a satisfied employee, and progressive firms are taking the necessary steps to give team members the freedom to make day-to-day decisions that affect outcomes.
Point of Clarity Quote:
“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”
― Theodore Roosevelt