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Dear Workforce When Do I Empower People

Empower people when they view themselves as competent and as professionals, regardless of what field they are in.
June 27, 2001
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Related Topics: Compensation Design and Communication, Dear Workforce, Compensation
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QDear Workforce:

For what problems will employee empowerment be an effective remedy? How can Iidentify these problems?

- Assistant Director of Operations, unidentified industry, Falmouth, NovaScotia.

A Dear Nova Scotia Operations:

Empowerment is not a solution, per se, for anything. It is a way of leadingor managing others, so that they have the responsibility and authority to makedecisions. Empowerment frequently results in more commitment and cooperation,better ideas and solutions, and more personal ownership.

Learning by empowering others is a preferred way of leading when you need thebuy-in and cooperation of others, and also when:

  • Quick response or responsiveness is needed. For example, customer servicepeople need to be able to quickly respond to customer needs and problems and nothave to constantly go up a chain of commend for decisions.

  • The problems are complex, and the solutions are not obvious. In thesesituations, you need input and involvement from others to figure out the bestsolution. For example, a work group can figure out how to re-engineer its workprocesses far better than managers sitting in an office.

  • When you are working with people who view themselves as competent and asprofessionals, regardless of what field they are in. Competent people dislikehaving someone in authority telling them what to do. They believe that can makeas good, or better, decisions themselves.

For empowerment to work, you need to give people the necessary informationabout the situation, provide access to people who are needed, and make yourselfavailable to help -- not micromanage.

SOURCE: Susan Gebelein, executive vice president for Personnel DecisionsInternational, Minneapolis, Minn., author of the Successful Manager'sHandbook,March 19, 2001.

LEARN MORE: See "How Teams Can EmpowerEmployees," which discusses how keeping employees in the loop canimprove your business.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide usefulinformation on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice ora legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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