Empowerment - Practice and Theory
Empowerment is a topic that attracts attention because of its potential to allow organizations to streamline and yet still improve results and profit. ATC's team of facilitators have lived the challenges of implementing empowerment in organizations such as Texas Instruments, and we apply the theory that we have developed through practices that achieve results and also that avoid the potential pitfalls. This will be the first of a couple of posts on this important and powerful topic of empowerment.
The practice of empowerment is attempted in the context of many applications:
- Employee empowerment – transitioning more empowerment to employees has occurred as organizations have flattened and attempted to become more lean
- Team empowerment – self managed teams require a level of empowerment if they are to grow to truly be self managed teams.
- Self empowerment – there is an internal desire for many people to have more control in their lives and work. Developing self in order to be ready for empowerment and responsibility is worthy. Personal empowerment can be a great result.
- Women empowerment – the authority of women in leadership has definitely grown. Such worthy progress by a segment of professionals and workers is accompanied with greater empowerment.
Some of these examples experience natural emergence and growth over time. Others are initiated intentionally and pressured to increase. It is in these areas where empowerment is forced where we often see problems. Absence of attention to some basics of empowerment theory can even result in disastrous outcomes.
ATC professionals have developed and refined approaches to empowerment over the years. We place careful attention on the details and pitfalls of empowerment processes in order to enable organizations to succeed and obtain their desired results.
The picture depicts a transfer of power via gears. In organizations, empowerment is a transition of power among members, usually from leaders to employees and teams.
Definition of empowerment – we prefer to define empowerment as follows:
Empowerment is a process to give a person (or team) more authority for making the decisions critical to success in their work.
Empowerment is a continuum, allowing different levels of empowerment based on the readiness of the individuals and leaders involved, in combination with surrounding business conditions.
In the next few days we will release a special ATC webpage dedicated to the practice and theory of empowerment. Please check back for that at our main website.