If your organization truly want to empower your staff, it has to be willing to let them go. That doesn’t mean it has to let all of its employees go tomorrow; it’s about understanding what dynamic the organization creates when managers try to hold on to and control their staff. Is your organization getting the greatest outcome? Are its staff empowered to do, be and produce greater things? Does the business also benefit?
Anything you are unwilling to lose controls you. This might seem counterintuitive, but if you are unwilling to lose something or someone, who is in control? You or them? If your organization would like to empower your staff, it has to look at who has control and how it is working out for everyone involved.
Who or what is your business unwilling to lose that is currently controlling its leaders? For example, some people work more effectively when given orders, and others are more effective when they can choose what they spend their time and energy on. Empowering employees is about seeing what is going to work best for them and creating a greater result for everyone. If you are “projecting and expecting” what someone should be doing, that’s not empowering your staff, and you will get a limited result, not a greater possibility.
Everyone excels at something. Empowerment is about inviting, nurturing and exponentially expanding your staff’s abilities. If your business needs to find out what someone’s abilities are, you can ask them to “create” their job. Start by writing a list of everything that the business requires, and then ask staff what they would prefer to do. In this way, they will take what is fun for them and run with it. It becomes their project, and they will be far more invested and productive than if you tell them to do something they are not really interested in.
This is where your organization has to be willing to lose its staff. Are you willing for them to be so great at what they do that they are in demand from other businesses? Know that the benefit of empowering employees is that they usually don’t want to leave and will be of far more value to the business than if their managers are trying to control everything.
Often, it’s the case that employees are not actually doing what would best suit their abilities. You might have a receptionist who can crunch numbers naturally and easily and an accountant who loves to chat to people and make them feel welcome. What would happen if you switched their roles? It’s not about what seems to make sense; it’s about what is going to create the best outcome for everyone.
Start to look at your business like a moving ecosystem. Anywhere that ecosystem in not moving or growing is somewhere that you need to change something. An ecosystem works best when every part is functioning at full capacity. Therefore, making changes to parts of the business enhances the whole ecosystem. Are employees in the part of the ecosystem that is going to expand their abilities and contribute to the whole business?
There are three main elements to empowering staff:
When leaders ask questions, they open employees’ minds, and their own, to recognize possibilities that they haven’t yet considered. A true question leads to more questions and expands everyone’s perspective. It’s not about getting an answer. It’s an ongoing process of being constantly curious and willing to explore new questions.
When organizations empower their staff to make choices for themselves, they become more aware of the consequences of their decisions. This awareness, in turn, enables them to choose differently for better results. If managers make all the choices, employees will never develop this awareness. Once someone is empowered to choose, he or she will retain that ability forever.
A great way to empower employees is to always look for what else is possible. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong with something or someone, look for what’s possible. If you do, staff are going to feel fully supported. They’ll recognize how the business is contributing to them and recognizing the contribution they are making to the business.
If you’re willing to look at the future of your business and the impact it can have on the world around you, you will see that empowering employees creates more for everyone and everything. Having a business where the staff are empowered starts with leaders and what they choose.
What is possible now that you have never considered before?