The role of leaders is not to get other people to follow them, but to empower others to lead. Bill George
Some years back, I worked with a teammate who, by her own choice, worked non-stop. No one needed to monitor her coming and going. She was just driven to do her best work as often as she wanted. The leaders around her left her alone to make customers happy and to drive great margins.
She really did raise the bar for others to follow. In every way, she felt empowered to make the right decisions for the customer.
She also owned the outcomes of her empowerment.
These are the two key ingredients to employee and organizational success.
1. How Empowerment Drives Success.
Let’s face it! Organizations are made up of people.
Some with more authority than others.
Some with more open cultures than others.
Empowered employees are more likely to innovate on behalf of the customer, because they feel more free to take risks.
While organizational leaders must own creating an environment where employees feel free to do what is right, employees must also find out what they are empowered to do.
In the case of my friend above, she would stop at nothing to find out every angle she could take for the customer.
She did not wait for leadership to define this.
She sought out her power.
2. How Ownership Drives Success.
Empowerment is “to give power or authority to.” It is awfully hard to take ownership in something over which one has no authority. However, when employees know they have control over a situation, they are much more likely to take ownership in its outcome. This is a perfect combination for organizational success, too, because it will produce better revenue and retention outcomes.
Think about it. Would you be more willing to take ownership in a solution someone else told you to deliver, or in a solution you had a hand in creating?
The point is that empowerment and ownership go hand in hand. My friend felt empowered, because her manager trusted her to make the right decisions. He trusted her to take ownership in fixing things when they were not right. She paid him and the organization back by delighting customers.
That is not a bad deal!
RELATED: Free Employee Engagement Audit Call
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