If you empower employees, it means letting them do things they’re good at or make decisions and take their risks. In other words, you grant your employee the authority to make decisions or take actions within stated limits, regardless of their job title or classification – or it’s giving your employees the feeling that they have control over their conditions.
For example, when an employee has an idea for improving efficiency or customer service, they should not feel discouraged from going through with it because they don’t hold a managerial role or have the authority to do so.
The employee should instead be encouraged by the manager to pursue their ideas. This way, everyone benefits.
As a manager, you can’t expect your employees to be happy or motivated if they are not empowered to do their job. If your employees feel zero ownership in their workplace, it will show in every aspect of how they do their job.
How to Empower Employees?
There is no one way of empowering employees, only an array of strategies. To empower your employees, consider the following 20 examples of empowerment in the workplace:
1. Give your Employees Freedom
Granting your employees, the freedom to make decisions can help you in many ways. Your employees will feel more empowered in their jobs and feel like they are part of a bigger team.
They will have faith that what they’re doing benefits the company and that they are trusted enough to make their decisions.
2. Solve their Problems
If you find that your employees enjoy solving problems, let them. Let them explore possible solutions and then come to the final decision.
It builds trust between you and your employees and gives them some autonomy to deal with their work challenges instead of always having to come to you for everything.
Read also: 16 Good Examples of Teamwork
3. Ask each Employee to Experiment
You may ask what this has to do with empowering your employees, but this helps a lot. Asking each employee to try out one new thing every month will allow them to bring a fresh perspective and inspire the rest of the team.
Encouraging your employees to experiment will drive them to be more confident in themselves and the people around them.
They will develop some independent streak as they pursue their interests, and the benefit will be that you will have a team of highly skilled employees who are confident enough to try new things.
4. Set your Employees up for Success
Ask your employees to take charge is risky business. You could end up losing some very talented people, or you could end up with an empowered team that loves working for you.
The success of empowering your staff largely depends on how ready or capable they are to think independently and take on more responsibility.
5. Let Them do the Work their Way
Some people thrive in chaos, while others would rather have everything organized and neat. Whatever helps to get your employees through the day with peace of mind, respect their individual preferences.
In other words, let them work on their terms. Let them know that you don’t mind how they go about doing the tasks as long as they get the job done the best the right way.
6. Encourage Employees to take Risks
The best way to empower employees is to give them a chance to fail and learn something out of it. Most employees detest being in a comfort zone because it’s hard to grow and improve.
It is more appropriate to take that risk and encourage your employees to do the same and avoid getting bogged down by fear and uncertainty.
7. Break Down Hierarchies
No employee in the workplace should be made feel inferior or superior to others. Encourage your employees to stick together and help each other. People can report or work under others but without the fear of hierarchies.
Create a work environment where there is no superior or inferior mentality. Make the workplace like a close-knit community that cares for each other rather than a strict hierarchy where people report to others.
8. Reward Whoever Challenges Status Quo
It is necessary to reward employees who promote change or challenge the status quo in positive ways. It helps when you have employees continuously or constantly looking for a way to innovate or add value.
When employees challenge the status quo, they bring up new ideas and point out what needs to do better. It is how employees can push a team or company forward and move it in the right direction.
9. Build Strong Relationships with Employees
Create a relationship that is open, strong between you and your employees. Good relationships come from trust and respect. Find ways to connect with your employees on a human level, not as someone above them or below them in the company’s structure.
Attempt to find things you have in common with each employee can build a genuine bond between the two of you. Don’t be afraid to highlight your weak points; this will show that you’re not scared of owning up and work on those areas.
10. Set Clear Expectations
Explain to your employees what is expected of them because not doing can only lead to confusion and frustrations. That is something you want to avoid.
Many managers don’t communicate or set clear expectations for their employees. Good employees get frustrated working with a manager who cannot explain things clearly.
11. Be Predictable
Most employees are happy to work for a demanding but predictable manager. To be predictable, you have to set aside your ego and focus on what is best for your employees.
Being direct with your employees is acceptable as long as you are honest with them. Ensure that you are predictable in a positive manner to boost morale.
12. Be Consistent
Consistency is half the battle when it comes to creating positive relationships with your employees. You have to treat all of your employees consistently. One of the reasons why most managers fail to empower their employees is because they lack consistency.
When you are dealing with disciplinary issues, be consistent. Make sure that you remain consistent in every decision you make or action you take.
13. Be Fair
Being fair does not mean treating everyone in the same manner, but being impartial and making decisions based on merit. This is necessary to avoid favoritism and discrimination in the workplace. Stand by your company’s policies, rules, and decisions that you make every single day.
Managers are humans and can be biased like everyone else, but you should not let biases affect your work in any way. Keep your personal bias out of the equation and make decisions based on logic, facts, or merit.
14. Keep your Employees Informed
Keep people informed of whatever is going on. Share the good and bad news with your employees. However, when you share bad news, make sure you do it in a manner that does not demotivate them.
It does not mean lying or recycling the information but providing the whole truth without demoralizing people. They need to know what is going on positively. And it helps them feel more included in the company’s activities.
15. Control your Own Emotions
Never lose control of yourself at work and behave in an unprofessional way. Employees can pick up on it whether you are aware or not.
Irrespective of the situation, ensure that it does not negatively affect people around you. It will only make the situation worse if you do not keep your cool.
Read more: 16 Examples of Taking Responsibility at Work
16. Delegate Work
Delegating tasks makes employees feel resourceful because by doing so, you are utilizing their skills and knowledge rightly. No manager can succeed in doing everything alone.
You must delegate tasks and responsibilities to employees who are capable of doing the job. It will empower your them to work even harder. It will also free up your time to concentrate on other things.
17. Encourage Transparency
It is crucial to create a transparent environment where everyone knows what is going on all the time. Encourage an open and inclusive policy that will allow everyone to share ideas, opinions, and concerns.
The workplace should be a place where people can openly express their grievances without fear or favor. Make it clear that all communication between employees is encouraged and welcome.
18. Don’t Micromanage
Micromanagement is something that almost every employee hates, especially when you have a manager who doesn’t trust their employees.
Make sure that you leave some decisions for your employee to make. Always be there to guide and support if they need ii, but don’t interfere with their work.
19. Develop your Employees
Empowerment is not just about giving employees the freedom to do their work. It’s also about empowering them with the knowledge that they need to succeed.
The key to success for any employee is to grow in areas where they may not be strong or comfortable. It is your responsibility as a manager to prepare your employees for promotion or change of roles within the company.
20. Promote a Culture of Sharing
Promoting a culture of sharing (knowledge, credit) instead of keeping information for yourself is a great way to empower employees.
Everyone in the workplace can learn new skills by knowing what others have learned. If people share what they know with others, it strengthens teamwork and workplace unity.
To empower employees means giving them freedom. Remember, they don’t need you telling them how much time they can spend on a project or what they should do with their free time.
Trusting your employees and letting them make decisions will not only help build stronger relationships with them.