The practical steps to increase employee empowerment often involve organizational programs as well as the individual leader’s actions with direct subordinates. A variety of different empowerment programs have been used, including self-managed teams, democratic structures and processes, and employee ownership of the company. A leader could follow the more detailed practical guidelines and devise effective action plans to empower others for achieving a high-performance workplace.
Take for example an organization that consists of 60 staff members and these members are divided into 6 functional working teams. Listed below are some key steps that an organization leader may take to empower their working teams or empower the workplace.
Clarify objectives and explain how the work supports them
During your weekly or monthly meetings, managers communicate with all team leaders the tasks or projects assigned to each team and its objectives, scope, and deliverables. Each team leader is empowered to break down the tasks into smaller components and assign the different team members roles to carry out necessary activities so as to deliver the end result.
Involve people in making decisions that affect them
The different teams focus on various infrastructure skill areas, for example, design engineers, drafting department, and systems integration department. Whenever there are major changes impacting any of the areas, the other teams will be invited to discuss the options until consensus on the solution is reached before a decision is finalized.
Delegate responsibility and authority for important activities
Changes in infrastructure are usually the manager’s responsibility. In some organizations, the leader delegates the responsibility and authority to the team leader, say to lead a project negotiating with contractors in constructing new prototypes of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for example. The project from start to finish is the responsibility of the team leader to review and approve any changes; implementation of the project is planned and then performed by the team members.
Take into account individual differences in motivation and skills
The personality and career aspiration of the team leaders are different. This difference may have been caused by the motivation of the manager of the organization. The results may be for example the team leader of the design engineering department is more attention to detailed minded and follows the rules and procedures to the letter. His skill is best suited for ensuring colleagues work according to procedures. On the other hand, the team leader of systems integration department is creative in enhancement technology infrastructure capability. He is empowered to propose projects for infrastructure enhancement. Both teams have the skill to supplement each other and strike a balance in creativity and being disciplinary.
Provide access to relevant information
The sharing of information is so important, and everyone should have the capabilities of accessing information throughout the whole organization. The information should consist of the organization’s standard operation procedures, training, important memos, project proposals, and lessons learned files. Everyone within teams and throughout the organization should have the ability to upload information and documents for sharing. This will largely enable the team in knowledge sharing and strengthen their technical skills. Encourage and support initiative and problem solving
When a problem is encountered, the team member will seek help from the other team. The leader keeps encouraging cross-team meetings and discussion to build rapport.
Recognize important contributions and achievements
After a key milestone or project is completed, team leaders need to celebrate with a luncheon or potluck for its members, and this needs to be set up by the team leader or manager. The team member(s) need to be praised in front of the whole organization for their contribution and achievement. The frequency should be determined by the team leader and manager.
Benefits to the organization as a result of empowerment should include 1) stronger task commitment, 2) greater initiative in carrying out role responsibilities, 3) greater persistence in the face of obstacles and temporary setbacks, 4) more innovation and learning as well as stronger optimism about the eventual success of the work, 5) higher job satisfaction, 6) stronger organizational commitment, and 7) less turnover. This practical example is a real-life demonstration of how to influence the employee’s positivity which will, in turn, lead to a high-performance workplace.