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Friday
Jun042010

Empowerment

Adapted from "Bits and Pieces"
 
The more freedom you give people to do their jobs the way they’d like to do them, the more satisfaction they’ll get from their work.
 
Most leaders are supposed to be a little smarter than other people and, in most respects, they probably are.  But if leaders insist on doing all the thinking for their organizations, if everything has to be done THEIR way, what’s left for the people who work for them to be proud of?
 
How much personal satisfaction can there be in doing a job that is completely programmed, where your muscles or brain are used to perform repetitive operations already planned and dictated by someone else?
 
There ought to be something in every job that’s satisfying to the person who does it.  Unfulfilled people can be just as serious a problem as inefficient methods.
 
Creating a climate that gives people some independence, without losing control, takes a lot of leadership skill.  It also hinges on the content of a job and the judgment and ability of the person handling it.  Here are some techniques which are used by many successful leaders:
 
Managing by objectives - Giving especially capable people a clear idea of the results you want to achieve and leaving the methods to them.
 
Suggesting methods rather than dictating them, with the understanding that people are free to devise something better.
 
Consulting people affected by a problem or a proposed change and asking their ideas, regardless of whether you think you need them or not.
 
Enriching jobs by delegating decisions as far down the line as possible. If a worker is capable of being trained to make a certain decision intelligently, why have it referred to a supervisor?  If a supervisor is capable, why refer to someone above?
 
Guiding your people to think of constructive suggestions you may already have in mind rather than simply presenting them yourself.
 
Eliminating needless rules and allowing people as much freedom and mobility as possible as long as they produce excellent results and don’t interfere with others.
 
Leaders who successfully practice these things will enjoy excellent morale among their people.  If it can be done without abdicating responsibility--without losing control of the situation--they’ll also get excellent results.
 


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