Lately, I have been reading quite a bit about the importance of empowering employees…This notion resonated with me because as consultants we come across many different types of employees in many different roles. The ability to empower employees seems to be a skill that must be honed by leadership. So, I asked myself, ‘How do you empower employees?’ Empowerment is defined as giving someone the authority or power to do something. I am not surprised that a recent report stated that today’s employees want ownership over their roles. In 2006, the Gallup Organization reported that companies who empower their employees experience 50% higher customer loyalty.
I think that most people believe that with clearly identified goals, they should be the architects to design how those goals will be achieved. If we provide flexibility to employees regarding where they work and how they work, will the result be better? I think the research supports that the results will exceed our expectations. Letting go of this type of control is difficult. When we witness other companies embracing a workplace that is freer and encouraging out-of-box thinking, we praise their ability to trust their employees and let them shine. LinkedIn’s CEO, Jeff Weiner, shared some of his career advice recently, “Inspire, empower, listen & appreciate. Practicing any one of these can improve employee engagement; mastering all four can change the game.” Successful leaders are typically good decision-makers, let’s face it, they make a lot of decisions each day, but that doesn’t mean that successful leaders have content employees. A leader who fosters a workplace where happiness, loyalty, and contentment are the desired goals is a leader who has the ability to step back and allow employees to make decisions and explore new ideas without her consent or input. Employees want to feel trusted and valued, so if leaders learn to let go of the reins and empower their employees to be innovative in the workplace, the results will be stellar!