Employee empowerment creates innovation
An empowered workforce is one that is successful, profitable and usually content. However the art of empowerment is one that eludes many leaders writes Chase Performance CEO Mark Pope.
Astudy of 64 organisations conducted by o cevibe.com, found that organisations with highly engaged employees achieve twice the annual net income of organisations whose employees lag behind on engagement.
While that seems fairly straightforward, the problem is that despite 90% of leaders believing that an engagement strategy has an impact on business success, barely 25% of these leaders have a strategy. So why don’t leaders walk the talk? According to Forbes it is all due to the di culty of transforming the employee mindset.
e article states: “You ask an employee to carry out a task that has enough exibility for creative input. Rather than making their own decisions, the employee comes to you with an onslaught of questions, trying to pin down the exact parameters of the task. You become exasperated, wondering why the employee has to ask you permission for every tiny detail.
“ is isn’t an unusual phenomenon – it can be di cult to break out of the leader-follower mindset at the workplace. In fact, researchers from Penn State, Claremont McKenna College, and Tsinghua University nd that only rare, ‘transformational leaders’ are able to prevent employees from being excessively reliant on their bosses, cultivating instead a sta that feels empowered and self-guided. Trust and business acumen are some of the cornerstones in building this type of work culture. We can use this wisdom to train informed and decisive teams that we can trust.” Workplace empowerment urges employees to take on more responsibility, show initiative and be innovative. ese employees share something in common: a positive psychology.
Yet, leadership must nurture positive psychology.
Dr Martin E.P. Seligman, Ph.D., is one of the most widely know psychologists of our time. Since 2000, his mission has been the promotion of the eld of positive psychology in which he discusses happiness.
Seligman believes there are three sources of happiness: pleasure, excitement and grati cation. Pleasure and excitement are unsustainable and reliant on extrinsic sources for internal, sensual experience. Grati cation, however, comes from internal satisfaction and focuses on actions, principles and people.
is relates to some of the work conducted by Daniel Pink around motivation. Pink is the author of several provocative, bestselling books about the changing world of work, including Drive: e Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, in which he uses 50 years of behavioural science to overturn the conventional wisdom about human motivation and o er a more e ective path to high performance.
Pink discusses the three real drivers for motivation as being internal; they come from having a sense of autonomy, purpose and mastery in our activities.
Both Seligman and Pink’s ideas connect at a very fundamental level.
For instance, when we connect to the purpose of a business and feel that we are contributing to the business overall, then we are more focused, motivated, engaged, happier and ultimately grati ed.
Leaders should connect their sta with the strategy and overall performance of the business. By giving them more direct responsibility to business outcomes and opportunities to work on the business, employees feel empowered to design and implement ideas to improve operations. is creates a sense of grati cation.
Problems occur when managers don’t trust the business enough to promote this activity. However, managers must throw away their mistrust and their fears to support and promote their sta . ey must give them extra responsibility, empower them to think innovatively about where the business is heading and give them some latitude to help move the business forward. Forbes o ers six ways to do this: 1. Encourage in the moment feedback. 2. Cultivate the executive mentality. 3. Present new challenges and
opportunities. 4. Respect boundaries. 5. O er exibility. 6. Don’t babysit.
One way employers may implement this type of strategy is through building a lean culture.
e term ‘lean’ was coined to describe Toyota’s business during the late 1980s by a research team headed by Jim Womack, Ph.D., at MIT’s International Motor Vehicle Program.
For Toyota the goal is always to be the best at cost, quality, delivery, safety, and morale through engaging people in continuous improvement.
Lean culture brings together process, people and purpose. Overall e ciency is measured by examining values and culture, engagement and ownership and accountability.
e more accountability leaders create in their sta , the better positioned they will be to drive the company’s vision. However, leaders must jump on board. And while this may be di cult, it is a necessity to encourage further development and innovation within an organisation.
Mark Pope CEO Chase Performance