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Top Ten Ways to Make Employee Empowerment Fail

Five More Reasons Employee Empowerment Fails


Take a look at my top ten reasons for why employee empowerment fails. The first five reasons why employee empowerment fails are in the first part of this article. Check out five more reasons why employee empowerment fails.

Why Employee Empowerment Fails

Managers need to provide growth and challenge opportunities and goals that employees can aim for and achieve. Failure to provide a strategic framework, in which decisions have a compass and success measurements, imperils the opportunity for empowered behavior. Employees need direction to know how to practice empowerment.

If managers fail to provide the information and access to information, training, and learning opportunities needed for staff to make good decisions, don’t complain when employee empowerment efforts fall short. The organization has the responsibility to create a work environment that helps foster the ability and desire of employees to act in empowered ways. Information is the key to successful employee empowerment.

Managers abdicate all responsibility and accountability for decision making. When reporting staff are blamed or punished for failures, mistakes, and less than optimum results, your employees will flee from employee empowerment. Or, they'll publicly identify reasons why failure was your fault, or his fault, or the other team's fault. Fail to publicly support decisions and stand behind your employees. Make staff feel deserted. You can make employee empowerment fail in sixty seconds. I guarantee it.

Allow barriers to impede the ability of staff members to practice empowered behavior. The work organization has the responsibility to remove barriers that limit the ability of staff to act in empowered ways. These barriers can include time, tools, training, access to meetings and teams, financial resources, support from other staff members, and effective coaching.

When employees feel under-compensated, under-titled for the responsibilities they take on, under-noticed, under-praised, and under-appreciated, don’t expect results from employee empowerment. The basic needs of employees must feel met for employees to give you their discretionary energy, the extra effort that people voluntarily invest in work.

If you dole out more responsibility than their positions should require and cause employees to feel overworked or underpaid for the work expected, you need to make adjustments. People want empowerment, but they don’t want you to take advantage of them, nor do they want to feel as if the organization is taking advantage of them. Ensure that the responsibilities match the job, that the person is doing the job in the job description – or change it.

Employees often believe that "someone," usually the manager, has to bestow employee empowerment upon the people who report to him. Consequently, the reporting staff members "wait" for the bestowing of empowerment, and the manager asks why people won't act in empowered ways.

Think about employee empowerment, not as something a manager bestows on employees, but rather as a philosophy and a strategy to help people develop talents, skills, and decision making competency. This growth helps employees feel competent, capable, and successful. Competent, capable, successful people best serve your organization. Avoid these ten employee empowerment traps. Don't let employee empowerment fail in your organization.

Take a look at the first five reasons employee empowerment fails including second guessing employee decisions.

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