When leaders empower employees, they let go of cumbersome bureaucracy and rules. They agree to coach and enable high performance without creating dependency. The core of the word “empowerment” is “power.” Empowering employees means relinquishing some control, leading with vision, and giving people the power to make a difference.
Why Is It So Difficult?
There are many reasons leaders struggle to empower their employees. The first is the false illusion that being in control and micromanaging every step in a project generates security. In fact, leaders create more security when they empower employees to perform their responsibilities.
Secondly, the current culture and status quo within the organization was created by many people, including its leadership. Some business owners built their companies from the ground up, turning fledging ideas or concepts into full-color reality. Because they put so much effort into creating the company and its culture, they will naturally want to protect and defend what has worked in the past. Enabling others to take action means that company stakeholders will need to get comfortable with existing company protocol being challenged.
To empower others, you must be confident in your leadership abilities. New or inexperienced leaders sometimes lack the confidence they need to let go of control. Building self-awareness and self-esteem can help new leaders feel more comfortable allowing others to make more significant contributions to the business, helping everyone shift from taking a reactionary stance to becoming a creative force in the company.
Every leader has a different personality. It’s harder for perfectionistic leaders to allow others to approach assignments in their own way. They tend to want to oversee every aspect of the work, which can stifle employee creativity. Empowering others means letting go of perfectionism. In most cases, employees learn best by doing. This means gaining experience by performing new tasks and assignments—and sometimes making mistakes. Leaders must be able to coach and trust others to perform work that will meet company standards.
Empowerment requires a high level of trust. Leaders who have been burned in the past may find it difficult to trust team members, even if their fears are irrational. It’s true that employees sometimes fail to meet deadlines or quality standards, but that is not an excuse for refusing to empower a team.
When leaders fully empower their employees, work will become more exciting, fun, and rewarding—and people will become much more productive. If your organization is to be successful, you need bright and observant people who can take personal initiative and get things done. You must learn to empower people by coaching, training, and communicating with them. Allowing your team to develop the skills, judgment, and experience to successfully exercise their intellect and creativity will lead to higher performance.
How Can CMOE Help?
Empowerment doesn’t mean letting employees do whatever they want; it’s about giving them the encouragement, tools, and authority they need so they can use their talents effectively. CMOE has helped hundreds of leaders develop the patience and skills needed to empower their teams. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you identify decisions that others can make, delegate more effectively, and clearly explain parameters and expectations to ensure the work is performed in a satisfactory way.
Contact CMOE today to find out how we can help your business experience real, lasting growth.