Empowerment refers to having a choice or a range of possibilities. Your decisions will influence your life. If you surrender them all to others, you give up your potential to create the life you desire.

What does it mean to feel empowered at work?

Many organisations might still see empowerment in the workplace as unnecessary. However, the reality is that it offers a plethora of advantages, many of which may help make your workplace a much happier environment for your workforce. An empowered employee is one who is granted a great deal of autonomy. When workers are empowered, they feel more in control of their own working lives. Employees are more engaged because they have the freedom to do their best work since their employer isn’t stifling it.

Empowering workers may slow things down temporarily, particularly if the job they perform and the manner in which they do it are well specified and regulated. When numerous individuals make choices rather than just one, there will obviously be some rework and errors. Be prepared for bumps along the road.

One of the most essential aspects of the discussion on diversity and inclusion is empowerment. The discussion on empowering underrepresented groups is one and the same as empowering all employees. It is important for leaders to think more carefully about what else is required to establish an atmosphere that encourages empowerment for various groups.

For instance, the availability of reliable, high-quality childcare has long been a key component in the empowerment of parents, guardians and carers in the workplace. Leadership must also be conscious of acts or speech that may disempower or undermine the environment for different groups. Even while you’re taking steps to empower all workers, you may be sending the wrong message if you tend to only promote members of one demographic or alumni from a single institution.

Your company culture has the power to make or break empowerment. It is within this larger framework that empowerment occurs. Empowerment must exist at the organisational level in order to exist at the management, interpersonal, and individual levels. If we want to encourage autonomy, we need to beware of micromanaging:

Of course, attention to detail is a crucial business technique to guarantee that the organisation and its personnel do everyday activities and business operations with precision and thoughtfulness.

There is, however, a distinction between ensuring that your employees perform effectively and scrutinising every detail. The latter not only undermines employee trust but also creates a slew of complications that have the ability to strangle your organisation from the inside.

Micromanagement suffocates innovation

A lot of work and expenditure is put into finding the best talent; those rare jewels of ingenuity; those people who will go above and beyond and whose creativity knows no limitations. As soon as one of those new recruits is placed in a scenario where their creativity is repressed or their freedom of thought is stifled by a process-driven management, that person not only feels devalued but begins looking toward the door for a quick getaway. Micromanaging also increases the level of stress in the workplace dramatically, which may result in health problems. Employee engagement and retention of talent should be at the forefront of priorities in any organisation; it’s vital that micromanagers are kept in check so as not to hinder innovation and growth.

Micromanagement stifles the ability of employees to grow and develop

As a general rule, most micromanagers are genuinely concerned about the welfare of their employees. As a result, many micromanagers believe they are doing their employees a favour by taking on the more difficult duties themselves and allowing their employees to focus on more mundane chores.

A limbo atmosphere, where nothing gets accomplished without their presence or say so, is created by managers who never challenge or stimulate their employees. This not only poses problems for the organisation but it also prohibits workers from taking advantage of valuable learning and development programmes. This also restrains empowerment by making the employee dependent on approval and permission.

Micromanagement leads to mediocrity in leadership

Business executives often elevate individuals to top positions who have outstanding academic qualifications and are frequently subject matter experts in their sector. Promoting internally is always a good idea since it allows you to ‘build’ your own talent pool and encourages your employees to progress in their careers.

When you elevate someone who is outstanding at their job but lacks leadership experience, what occurs is that they will almost always concentrate on what they do best… their job. However, the risk of elevating employees without providing leadership training is that these employees get so focused on performing their jobs effectively that they lose sight of the fact that they now have a team behind them and all the leadership responsibilities that come with it. This results in leadership incompetence, which becomes very hard to eradicate from an organisation.

How can our leadership style be modified to promote employee empowerment?

Empowering employees demands a concerted effort on the part of everyone in the organisation, none more so than team leaders. We must align our leadership with the goal of fostering a collaborative culture and empowering people while also considering how we may facilitate increased autonomy.

So how do we truly encourage empowerment?

  • Set clear and measurable objectives for your team, ensure that you are both on the same page and align your expectations, purpose and values.
  • Allow room for mistakes to be made, avoid the blame game.
  • Be a visible ally; make it known that you can provide support.
  • Encourage innovation by letting people take calculated risks.
  • Acknowledge a job well done. A thank you note or call goes a really long way!