At Bandura I deal with many organisations and many do like to think they empower their employees. There is a critical point that is often missed: It isn’t possible for a leader to simply “empower” someone to be accountable and make sound decisions. Employee’s have to empower themselves. Your role as a leader is to encourage and support the decision-making environment, and to give employees the tools and knowledge they need to make and act upon their own decisions. By doing this, you help your employees reach an empowered state.
Employees will only believe they are empowered when they are left alone to accomplish results over a period of time. Following are a few things leaders can do to build an environment that empowers people.
- Engage your employees in decision-making; give them the authority to act in the best interests of the company.
- Provide training in resolving client problems and then trust them to make the right decisions.
- Give your people some time to think and plan by building in some slack through adequate staffing.
- Don’t criticize employee’ mistakes; instead celebrate honest mistakes. Recognize that making decisions naturally results in making mistakes because no one is perfect. If you criticize honest mistakes, your people will stop making decisions.
Nothing is more gratifying than to see your people develop the skills and confidence to act independently and to make sound decisions that are in the best interests of the company and your clients.