The term empowerment is defined as the measures taken toincrease the degree of autonomy and self-determination in the work force inorder to enable them to perform in a responsible and self-determined way byacting on their own authority. Empowerment as an action not only refers to theprocess of self-motivation but also professional support to the work forcewhich enables them to overcome their sense of dearth and lack of influence andto identify and use their potential and resources. This concept ischaracterized by a move towards a more strength oriented perception from adeficit oriented approach. Robert Adams defines empowerment as the capacity ofindividuals and or groups that take control of their circumstances, exercisepower in order to achieve their own goals and the process by which they areable to improve the quality of the work individually and collectively.
Itinvolves critical reflection and group participation through which individualslacking an equal share of resources gain greater access to those resources and havea better control over them.Empowerment is defined by Xerox corporation as anorganizational state, where employees are aligned with business goals, andunderstanding their performance boundaries, thus enabling them to takeresponsibility and ownership while seeking improvements, identifying the bestcourse of action while identifying steps to satisfy the customers. The key isto have a clearly defined company vision and company values. The vision tellsthe employees where the business is going and the values define what the organizationbelieves in.
It is a known psychology that people want to be a part of the teamthat is winning and making progress. Then, having a position agreement thatlets the employees know their responsibilities that they are supposed tofulfill in order to make it easier for them to take the ownership of theirroles rather than delegating verbally. Asking employees for suggestions is alsoknown to empower them by setting them in the mindset of taking ownership whenthey feel valued. Certain reasons whysupervisors do not support empowering teams is that they are reluctant to giveup power, they have preconceived ideas about subordinates, they need to set agood example themselves and fear that they are ultimately held accountable andlook bad if it doesn’t pan out according to the plan.
However, having regular workplaceempowerment in place has greater advantages than having none. The culture andmorale of the employees change significantly, staff turnover reduces, peoplecollaborate more easily, employees get more creative and innovative, theyreadily embrace change and it leads to more productivity and engagement. Team development has gone through many changes in the recentyears.
The success of team work is dependent on its internal processes mainlyon the four steps that are forming, storming, norming and performing stages.Team work and functionality is known to improve after the members have beentogether awhile. However, when faced with a new team, it is very crucial that rapportis built with one another and trust is developed which is the backbone of teambuilding process. While teams are proven to be successful in many businessorganizations, they are not entirely free from problems. In such cases, consensusdecision making plays an important role in project success. This requires a greatdeal of team training through which credibility is established early on. Allmembers should receive training in quality awareness, problem solving, safety andtechnical aspects of the job.
It is very important that employees are madeaware of what the training is all about and get acceptance from the members toconfirm if each and every one of them is in agreement with the trainingguidelines. Then, a team leader is responsible to ensure that the employeesadhere and adapt to what has been agreed upon.In summary, empowerment is not a kinder, gentler command andcontrol structure. It is rather letting the employees know subtly that they arebeing monitored and their productivity is being measured. Its not asking theemployees how they can do their job better. Rather, it is giving them a senseof purpose and contribution and thereby unleashing their experience and theirknowledge.
In order for a team lead to be a good empowerer, he/she should be upto date on guidance in human relations, motivation, conflict resolution,communications and related matters. Employees are aligned with the corporatestrategy through a cultural foundation of driven and motivated employees. Withright kind of training, development, practice and appreciation to encourage theright kind of behavior and have the employees have a strong connection to corporateprofitability and drive in results, employee empowerment can lead to organizationalsuccess