Empowerment: the key to future leadership

A man sitting at his laptop smiling

We see more and more studies showing the close connection between the productivity of businesses and their employees’ impression of being able to control and influence work. Hierarchical structures with top/down management have difficulties meeting the new generation’s requirements for self-leadership and meaningful tasks that encourage personal development. Instead, maintaining or increasing productivity gets more and more dependent on how well you, as a leader, manage to engage your employees.

Some studies show that the younger generations are expected to change employers on an average of every 1.5 years. Consequently, it is a major challenge for both managers and HR teams to create developing and dynamic working cultures that both attract and retain the younger workforce.

So, what can you do within your organisation to increase the level of individual empowerment? The simplest, and at the same time the hardest advice we can give, is to create a thorough philosophy where the aim is to focus on the power of the individual. This is a long-term process that needs to permeate everything. It needs to be a part of the company’s development, so do make empowerment a consistent strategic issue. Be ready to constantly re-examine what empowerment is in general and on an individual level. On the whole, find ways to identify and recognise each individual’s unique abilities. Make room for personal decisions and ensure that everyone has the right tools to create enough information to be able to make these decisions. Dare to give freedom in how to take on challenges but at the same time be clear with your expectations. Show your trust, express appreciation and give acknowledgement. Create structures where feedback comes naturally and where feedback from co-workers is rewarded.

An easy and also very powerful way to create empowerment is not to point out how things should be done, but instead to ask how the individual wants to handle the situation. By asking the right questions, you will free the employee’s experience, knowledge, ideas, potential solutions, etc.

A culture impregnated with empowerment brings many benefits; committed employees increase productivity. Somebody who feels valuable limits themselves less, the company gains a greater return on each person’s personal capital, thus improving the creative climate. Your employees will stay longer, HR can focus on specialist recruitment instead of merely replacing leaving staff in the organisation, and the knowledge capital increases steadily instead of being drained. With many of these ideas as a springboard, we have developed Vocean, our digital and collaborative platform, to help businesses create empowerment and self-leadership at their very core.

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