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.

Business First - - CULTURE -

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

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