How to Empower Employees & Improve Employee Performance

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  • 0:04 How to Empower Your Employees
  • 2:20 Supporting the…
  • 4:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sherri Hartzell

Sherri has taught college business and communication courses. She also holds three degrees including communications, business, educational leadership/technology.

Empowered employees have the potential to reach high levels of productivity because they feel in control of their jobs. This lesson will describe how a manager can empower an employee to motivate employee performance.

How to Empower Your Employees

From the time that we're born, we're on this path to self-sufficiency. We want to be able to do things on our own with a little help along the way when we need it. Indeed, a key ingredient in self-sufficiency is a solid support system. However, supporting is not the same as doing; a good support system is there to provide the foundation for someone else to achieve greatness, not to do it for them.

For example, a mother does not do her child's homework for them simply because they're struggling with some of the concepts, but does provide guidance and encouragement as a support to her child. She essentially empowers her child to do the homework on their own.

A key ingredient in self-sufficiency is a solid support system.
empower employees

What is important to grasp here is that empowerment is not something that a person can do for another; rather it is something that someone has to give to someone else so that they can in turn do whatever it is that they are now empowered to do.

This is also true of organizations, while most people think empowerment is something that a manager does for their subordinates, what really happens is that the manager empowers the employee to do things on their own. Empowerment comes from the individual, not the manager.

Empowerment occurs when an employee is given the freedom, power, trust, autonomy, and encouragement to carry out job-related tasks. When used as a motivational strategy, empowerment can provide an employee with a sense of pride and ownership over their work. People want to feel in control of their destiny, especially in the workplace.

Empowerment provides a worker with intrinsic rewards.

Essentially, empowerment provides a worker with intrinsic, or self-induced, rewards by allowing them to make decisions on their own and see the success that follows. Employees associate their success with their own abilities, motivating them to continue to strive for higher levels of productivity in future tasks.

Managers can promote organizational success by inviting employees to be innovative in their ideas, solutions, and decisions while at the same time giving them authority to see them through to implementation. Empowerment enables subordinates to work independently as they control their own jobs by using their own knowledge, skill sets, abilities, and decision-making skills to achieve personal and organizational success.

Supporting the Empowerment of Others

While employee empowerment comes in many forms, it can vary in degree and scope. The result is often one of increased motivation and job satisfaction. Therefore, effective managers continually look for ways to empower their staff to reach those personal and organizational successes that I just mentioned.

To begin, a manager should spend time showing their employees that they value them as members of the organization. This should be a genuine demonstration by management, which clearly communicates to the employee that the manager appreciates each employee for their unique contributions that they make to the organization. Asking employees to share the leader's vision for organizational success and inviting them to participate in the decision-making processes that are needed to see that vision become a reality are two ways that a manager can demonstrate their appreciation. A large part of that dynamic is a sense of trust, meaning the manager has to be able to trust the employee to be capable of making effective decisions on their own.

A manager has to trust the employee to make effective decisions.
supporting empowerment

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