Empowerment is the process of encouraging individuals to think, behave, manage, take action and make decisions towards their career goals. Being empowered means feeling in control of your own work environment and knowing that you are trusted to make decisions about your responsibilities.
In this article, we will explain empowerment and discuss ways you can be more empowered at work.
What is empowerment?
Empowerment is the practice of sharing authority, information, and respect with others. Empowerment must enable people to take initiatives, make decisions and solve problems.
The idea of empowerment is that providing others with skills, resources, opportunities, and responsibilities for career growth and increases job satisfaction. Empowerment means taking control of your own work environment and using your skills and talents in ways that benefit you and your organization, leading to better productivity and results.
Empowerment can also be considered as a personal work philosophy and strategy. Empowered employees who operate within the framework of the company and its mission and goals can increase workplace productivity and effectiveness, instead of constantly waiting for permission and feedback. They become more responsible and accountable as a result of self-direction.
How to empower yourself at work
Focusing on your own empowerment at work can result in greater responsibility and long-term success in your career. Here are some ways you can start taking more ownership of your work:
Get clear on what is expected of you. The first step to feeling more empowered is to determine your direction. Be clear about your company’s mission, vision and annual goals.
Work with your manager to understand how your team and individual goals this year are helping to achieve broader organizational goals. Make it your personal responsibility for your current position and any position you are working in available and review it regularly.
Find a mentor. Working with a mentor can help you define and achieve personal career goals, including increased empowerment in the workplace. Ideally, you should find a mentor who is in your industry or who has a job that you would like to find someday. Ask them for their honest feedback about your strengths and areas for improvement over time.
Ask for consistent feedback. The best way to improve your skills and professional growth is to seek feedback from those who know your job. Seek feedback from your boss and coworkers to get an overall picture of your performance. It can help you take control of your personal growth at work by understanding exactly what you are good at and what you need to improve.
Communicate with your supervisor. Your most powerful advocate at work will likely be your supervisor or direct manager. They are responsible for your performance at work and want to see you successful and satisfied in your role. Talk to them about your desire to feel more empowered at work and discuss ways you can make this a career goal.
Once you feel empowered at work, you will be able to work more effectively towards achieving your own professional and company goals.
How to empower others at work
There are six ways to empower others in the workplace: Build trust, ask for feedback, offer instructions, simplify findings, show your appreciation, and recognize boundaries. All methods must be applied in a suitable scenario for the best impact.
Let’s take a closer look at how each of these empowerment steps can work to increase the productivity of you and others:
Sometimes, we need to trust others to complete certain tasks or have certain goals without much supervision. While it may sometimes feel uncomfortable to give others this strength, especially if you take responsibility for their mistakes, it is absolutely necessary to build empowerment.
Everyone makes mistakes. It’s important to allow people to learn from them and move forward without losing confidence. If you’re a manager, it’s important to give employees the benefit of the doubt if they make a mistake, especially at the start. Tell your report that it is acceptable and that some errors are expected.
Asking for feedback
One of the best ways to empower others is to ask them what they need – especially if you are a manager or supervisor. Whether they don’t feel empowered as a result of micromanagement or don’t have access to certain information, opening these lines of communication will increase empowerment for everyone.
If one employee is in a unique position to figure out how to do a task that no one else knows, they end up spending a lot of time solving other people’s problems. In these situations, it is often better and quicker for everyone involved to create instructions or conduct training sessions so that every employee has the same understanding.
You will find that many people would rather have the information they need to do the job themselves than have to pass it on to others. Share knowledge among employees to create an independent environment.
Creating materials is a big step in empowering your employees, but it only works if there are simple ways for other employees to find and use the information. The best way to educate a team on how to get the job done on their own is to publish instructions in a common room that everyone has access to.
If you take the time to provide employees with a simple, direct way to access the information they need and educate themselves, everyone is more productive. People who need certain information can find it, and people who have information do not spend their time teaching others.
Show your appreciation
One of the most effective ways to empower others is to express appreciation for their efforts. Offering positive feedback to show responsibility and take ownership supports this behavior. It also makes people feel valued and valued, which fosters a positive work environment.
While offering others more responsibility and information can make them feel empowered, it can also make them feel overwhelmed if not done right. Part of successful empowerment is identifying other people’s limitations and making sure they don’t feel tired or responsible for tasks that don’t contribute to achieving the goals for their position.
Benefits of empowering others
The goal of empowerment is to provide information and permission to employees to solve problems and move forward to achieve company goals. If people have what they need to solve their own problems, it will free up your time and give you the opportunity to challenge yourself at work.
For example, you might be overwhelmed by an employee’s request to resolve a computer problem that could easily be resolved by restarting. If your employees know they can restart their computers on their own instead of waiting for your solution, they’ll be more productive and you can spend more time on your own tasks.