Empowerment has a variety of definitions. It's often described as the process of giving power and control to nonmanagerial members of an organization. Although this definition has merit, it may not be the most useful way to view the concept.
Empowerment has also been defined as the process of enabling employees to reach their own potential in ways that help the team or organization. This definition focuses less on control and power and more on managing human resources through coordination and facilitation.
The empowerment of employees allows them more control and responsibility over their work. Your role as manager shifts from control to facilitation and coordination of work processes. There is less focus on decision making and more focus on good communications, education and training, and leadership. One of your primary roles becomes to help team members develop the confidence and skills to make good decisions and to maximize their full potential.
It's a process
Employee empowerment is a process and not an event. Tapping into employees' potential should be incorporated into the way things are done within a team. You need to be consistent in providing staff members with opportunities to make decisions and be innovative. Your staff must be willing to accept the responsibility that comes with empowerment. This process requires commitment and patience from both you and your team members.
Teach your team to embrace empowerment
It is a mistake to assume that staff members will naturally understand or accept empowerment. How many times have you heard from team members that something is not their responsibility or that it's not what they were hired to do? In many ways, traditional organizations have encouraged conformity and loyalty from employees at the expense of innovation and flexibility. The clich�s "don't rock the boat" and "toe the line" have...