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Empowerment Is More Than a “Buzzy” Word

There can be a misunderstanding regarding the concept of empowerment.

* Some think it means people want to participate. However, people who want to participate are engaged, not empowered.

* Some think it means fully letting go of the decisions. However, that means delegating authority, not empowerment.

* Some think once you empower someone, you are not allowed to disagree. However, that means disengagement or apathy on the part of leadership.

* Some think empowerment means you get to pick the goals and targets. However, empowerment is about how you deliver the metrics, not what the metrics are.

Empowerment is teams being accountable for delivering results. When the team fully owns its failures and is actively finding ways not to fail in the future, then the team has fully embraced being empowered.

Many want to be empowered (read: “not have someone tell them what to do”); few want to except empowerment (read: “be held accountable for the results”).

Empowerment requires trust that the job will get done. Trust requires accountability when the job does not get done. Accountability requires continuous improvement to ensure today is better than yesterday. Continuous improvement delivers world class competitive operations.

Empowerment does not mean you are always right. Empowerment means you are constantly, with energy seeking to be better today than you were yesterday.

Be intentional