If you search the word ‘leader’ in a dictionary, you’d find definitions focusing on one’s ability to command and exercise control over others. If you ask some of the most effective leaders or HR specialists, like Ed Krow, you’re likely to get a different answer. It’s less about the title and more about people willingly following you. It’s about inspiring and empowering others.
Empowering leadership has become a popular practice in the past decade, given the numerous ways it fosters job satisfaction and employee enablement. But recent studies, examining 1,500 employees from about 150 companies across multiple industries, have shown that attempts to empower employees without providing support can cause confusion and resentment.
Trust plays an enormous part in the way people interpret working independently. Especially for people used to being closely supervised, an increase in their responsibilities alone can be detrimental. As an empowering leader you can’t just sit back and delegate more work to your employees. You can’t expect them to gain years of experience in decision making overnight. You have to be willing to listen. Ask for their opinion. Slowly build that trust and enable their creativeness. Make sure that the tasks assigned are indeed, creative. Overloading employees with more operational work, does not really ‘empower’ them and neither does it make you an effective empowering leader.
Ask the question ‘do we have enough channels in place to support our people when we empower them with more responsibilities?’