Leadership Today
Empowerment , Planning and Steps for Success
4/26/2010 9:57:09 AM Link 0 comments | Add comment

empowerment


Thanks for your return with us to this powerful topic. Our interest in writing this brief series on empowerment has been to help you understand how to get started and achieve success with an empowerment strategy.

As mentioned last time, many have tried empowerment, but not so many have succeeded. Here we will provide you with a sketch of key parts of preparation for successful empowerment. These are offered as a result of our actual experiences, first as corporate leaders/managers, and then second as consultants who have supported many organizations on their empowerment journeys.
Training
Training is essential for both leaders and your people/teams – those doing the empowering and those receiving empowerment.
Recall that empowerment is a transition of power (authority). It is a relationship with a minimum of two parties – those releasing power and those assuming power. Both need adequate preparation and guidance. Do not leave this to chance or you open the door to misunderstanding and problems, even resentments, about the process of empowerment you are trying to implement.
Leaders          Of the two parties, leadership can be the more difficult area of preparation, especially front line leadership. It can be viewed as a loss, both of position and control. Supervisors and managers can even perceive empowerment as a threat to their future unless you prepare them with training and vision regarding the expected future.
Their training should illuminate several important areas:

- The process steps of empowerment

- What is in it for them, the supervisors and managers

- Leadership flexibility that will be required in the journey

- Training they must provide to their people and teams

People and Teams     This typically is a very positive area of training, as there will exist a natural interest and desire to learn and advance in authority. Your people and teams should desire this if it is well presented in a context that illuminates the vital future role and impact of empowerment for them and the organization. 
Note – there can be resistance in certain circumstances:
Resistance can be rallied by outside influences such as negative union pressures. (If there is a history of healthy management-union relations, then the union can be a positive part of the implementation. If the history is not so positive, then special steps of relationship building with the union may be essential.)
Company past practice of implementation exercises (past programming that has been perceived as “flavors of the month” – processes implemented without follow through and support for success. If your organization is perceived in this light, special steps of preparation may be required to illuminate this plan for empowerment as a process that will be supported and accompanied with follow up and follow through.
Focus on the mission of the business
All of the preparation and training should contain a clear connection with the business mission so that everyone, both managers and employees/teams see the clear business purpose behind the move to empowerment. You want it to be clear that you are not empowering just to be changing for the sake of change. You are empowering to improve and increase business outcomes of the enterprise. Help everyone see the connection between the health of the business and their individual well being.
Build in accountability
Our last post focused on the empowerment trap of “entitlement.” The best strategy to avoid this serious trap is to build in accountability for results. Without improvement in businessresults, there is no increase in empowerment. You need to do this as you set expectations throughout the steps of your empowerment implementation process, starting with the initial training.
Flexibility
You must prepare, both leaders and teams, for the ebb and flow of business that will dictate changing dynamics within the context of an empowered organization. You must address up front that things change from time to time that can require more or less levels of management attention. If this is fully understood up front, you will avoid later negative perceptions that your empowerment program has been yet another management “program of the month.” Handled correctly, your teams and people will be proactively looking for additional management involvement and support during the trying times. Here are some examples:
- Business changes – new product and service launches require increased support and activity from the ranks of management
- Marketplace changes – leaders have important perspectives and experience form more global views of the marketplace and must be engaged as the dynamics with customers change
- System changes – from time to time new business systems & processes may be implemented. Your people and teams should recognize that increased levels of management direction are essential to successful implementations of these changes.
- Economy ups & downs – performance by your people and teams can be influenced heavily at times b factors outside of the control of the teams. Management connection becomes critical during these times.
The point of these examples is this; empowerment is not a fixed process. It needs to be dynamic and responsive to the challenges and demands of the marketplace in which you compete. Prepare both your leaders and teams for this reality and you will be setting the stage for a powerful and successful empowerment experience. The focus will be where it should be – the mission success of the business.
Feel free to share your stories of empowerment with us. You may write to me directly at LMeeker@atctraining.com 

Many thanks for your interest,
& best wishes for your empowerment journey,

 Larry

 

Empower? Yes, but Avoid Creating Entitlement
4/19/2010 1:02:44 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment

empowerment


Our company has a long history of teaching principles of empowerment. We have lived these concepts, and much of what we facilitate and teach is based on our own experiences as leaders in companies such as Texas Instruments.

Many have tried empowerment. Not so many have succeeded. One of the serious traps that exists on the Empowerment Journey is “entitlement.”
Entitlement and its negative consequences are not just a function of unprepared attempts at empowerment. It can result from many miss-steps of management within organizations.
So, what is entitlement?
I will reference from an excellent book by Dr. Judith Bardwick, Danger in the Comfort Zone.
“Entitlement is the name I have given to an attitude, a way of looking at life. Those who have this attitude believe that they do not have to earn what they get. They come to believe that they get something because they are owed it, because they’re entitled to it. They get what they want because of who they are, not because of what they do.”
Dr. Bardwick focuses a lot on American corporations: people not really contributing, but still expecting to get their regular raise, their scheduled promotion. This attitude is very dangerous.
  • It lowers productivity
  • It crushes self esteem
  • It destroys motivation
Entitlement doesn’t just exist in the ranks of corporate America. With only a few moments of reflection you can list many settings. A couple of examples include:
  • Executive bonuses expected regardless of company performance
  • Government employees who maintain that they are job-secure, regardless of contribution
  • Settings where tenure and seniority rule reward & promotion rather than performance
  • Senior employees on the “retirement glide,” expecting the regular paycheck without much effort as they approach retirement
The case we are referring to, indeed the trap, is the entitlement that can exist among those that have been involved in careless efforts of empowerment. Entitlement in this instance is a sense of having authority for decisions and actions but no accountability for the results. This is a formula for disaster.
ATC empowerment processes head this off with the initial training for both leaders and employees/teams. In the next post, we will talk about some of the important steps that prevent this condition, so that you can truly reap the benefits of successful empowerment.

Many thanks,

Larry

 
Management versus Leadership
4/8/2010 5:50:26 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment

Leadership, management

The terms leadership and management are often used interchangeably. But the truth is, these are different words and they mean different things. 

Management administrates the people, processes and systems to ensure that an organization’s goals are attained. Management also oversees an organization’s day-to-day operations. This is a critical component to being a successful leader, but there should be more.
John Maxwell, in his book, the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership[1], illuminates five myths of leadership. In other words, what leadership is not:
 
The Management Myth—Leadership and management are different. Both are important, but, managing things is not leadership.
 
The Entrepreneur Myth—people tend to admire those who are innovators, and those who can create great ideas and concepts around which a business can be formed. But, being an inventor or entrepreneur is not the same as being a leader.
 
The Knowledge Myth—“Knowledge is power” is a common thought, but we cannot assume that because a person is intelligent and knowledgeable that they are leaders. For example, you can look at the faculties of many universities and find brilliant minds, scientists and great thinkers, but who have little if any capacity to lead.
 
The Pioneer Myth—those who are out in front, pursuing exploration, are not necessarily the leaders. They may have a pioneering spirit to explore the unknown, but they may not have the leadership skills to influence others to follow along and act on their vision. They may even be “lone wolves” or mavericks rather that team players and effective leaders.
 
The Position Myth—“It is not the position that makes the leader; it’s the leader that makes the position.”
 
Leadership is about taking accountability for the overall direction of an organization. This includes some of the major challenges and changes that are being faced in many of today’s businesses. A real leader is accountable for the people, resources, processes and progress of the organization. 
 
Both management and leadership are essential for businesses and individuals to succeed. The best managers are also good leaders. They are able to run the day to day business smoothly and effectively, but they also have a vision for the people and business that they represent.

Many thanks,

Angela Gallogly, ATC Vice President of USA Operations 


[1] The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Follow Them and People Will Follow You, John. C. Maxwell, Thomas Nelson, Inc, 1998, p 11-20.
 
 
 
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