Daniel Kehoe: Empowerment...can you feel it?

PEOPLE have been ‘empowered’ to degrees more or less for ages. To ‘empower’ means to give or delegate power or authority to. Managers have been doing that for donkey’s years. It’s just that the employee didn’t know that they had just been empowered. Not so long ago, the word ‘empowerment’ wasn’t part of the management vernacular. So, these days, employees are now empowered. Are you still with me? But what does empowerment look like? Here is a checklist to explore the extent to which your people feel empowered to contribute to team performance. If you have a work group, but not a team, then check which of these are absent. As you review the list, answer these questions: What needs to happen? What could we do better? • You are empowered to deliver the required standard of team performance. • If genuine mistakes occur, you encourage learning and improvement without blame. • You openly discuss your attitudes and beliefs about team performance. • You regularly assess your assets and liabilities in delivering outstanding team performance and apply remedial action • Your work environment contributes to the provision of outstanding team performance. • People are clear on unacceptable behaviours which impede teamwork and team performance. • You encourage people to be responsible for the consequences of decisions they make that affect team performance. • You encourage people to find resolutions to problems they are capable of resolving. • You avoid sarcasm and putting others down when people are attempting to improve team performance. • You challenge negative group-talk about issues affecting team performance. • You feel empowered to say “no” where appropriate. • You feel empowered to identify and raise team performance issues. • You feel empowered to suggest improvements to team performance. • You feel empowered to always follow correct procedures (no pressure to cut corners). • You are appropriately consulted and involved in decisions affecting your team performance. • You are trusted to make decisions and act appropriately within the scope of our role. • You are clear about where and in whom authority is vested. The information you need to work effectively is received and applied. • You are aware of your own and other team members’ responsibilities to the team. • You respect the differing accountabilities of team members through our support and co-operation. • You take responsibility for team performance outcomes. • You act to develop teamwork and to develop your own skills and knowledge in how to work as a high-performance team. If you would like information on a system and tools designed to achieve this and much more, see and click on 3. Team Performance.

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