Empowerment… sounds a bit all new age, feel good, tree hugging stuff, or a tokenistic gesture of business profiteers of the new millennia. Maybe, maybe not. Anyway, I am a fan of the concept, It makes good business sense.
My thought is it’s here to stay, people are your power in the business. Give them appropriate power, along they go and along you go. Group Empowerment needs better understanding.
When I am working with new clients I seek out what level of empowerment are we talking about, what does this mean, how will it be communicated and how will we know it?
"Nothing causes greater mistrust than lack of clarity about empowerment levels."
It’s very common for groups to assume they have final say in making a decision while management is merely asking for their opinion as input to a decision that managers be making later. Ever felt like that, ever seen it happen, ever heard people tell you something like this???
I experienced this confusion first hand 3 months ago, when a high level group thought they had power to make decisions over a project….. uh uh, the CEO did. Sorry team, no project, 6 months of planning work squashed. The mood was doom and gloom and there were a few other strong adjectives shared around.
Here it is…..It’s essential that you clarify the level of empowerment at which a decision is being made and communicate that explicitly to the group at the start of any decision-making discussion. Yes it takes courage and you might cop a spray, but be warned, if you don’t, the backlash will be far worse. Ingrid Bens discusses 4 empowerment levels in her facilitation practice.
4 Empowerment Levels
Directive: Level 1 - this refers to decisions made by management without input from employees. Employees are informed of the decision and expected to comply.
Consultative: Level 2 - this is a decision made by management after seeking input from employees. Employees are consulted but have no actual say in the final decision and are expected to comply. An employee focus group is an example of this decision.
Participative: Level 3 - this type of decision involves employees discussing and recommending a course of action, but unable to act without gaining final approval. Problem-solving workshops are often set up as level III activities.
Delegative: Level 4 - in this type of decision the group has been given full authority to make a decision and implement action plans without having to seek further approvals.
Tip 1, ensure you and the group know what level they are empowered.
Tip 2, let go of people control, empower others, empower yourself
Inspiring People, Inspiring Business, Inspiring Results
© Copyright 2008 -12