Are you empowering your people to greater success?
This is a self-assessment process to determine the degree to which others are being empowered under your leadership. Prescriptive actions to create a more empowering environment are provided as you learn more about your empowerment style.
Write down every decision made for one week. Include not only specific decisions requiring approval, but also all FYI issues brought to your attention. This will likely be a long list with many decisions and issues coming from many individuals. For each item capture the following information:
- Who made the request or brought the information to your attention?
- What was the decision that was required to be made?
- Was it for your information, concurrence, or primary decision?
- What was the dollar impact, if any?
- This data can be collected in a spreadsheet or on paper that can later be cut up.
At the end of one week, organize the above information into three groups that corresponds to your level of involvement in the decision-making process. For each type response subset groups again (the criteria for grouping is open and can be anything that makes some sense.) This grouping can be accomplished by adding additional columns to the spreadsheet and resorting. Or if using paper, cut into individual items and physically group into related piles. Once grouped, answer the associated questions below.
- Primary decisions where you were the ultimate decider.
Did others have authority to make the decision, but deferred to you?
Should others have had the authority to make the decision?
- Issues where the decision was basically made by others and only your concurrence was sought.
Was your concurrence really necessary?
- Information sent to keep you informed of other’s decisions.
Was this information need to know, or only nice to know? Or was it totally unnecessary that you know?
Study the groupings generated in Step 2. What was your first impression? Are there common issues in each group? Was your involvement really necessary or the result of an unempowered organization? Are the same individuals disproportionately represented in different groups?
Bottom line from this study: What would you prefer to have had happen? This establishes a potential state of empowerment throughout the organization.
Remember, you can gain power by giving it away to others. Empowerment is built on the knowledge that organizational power is not a limited resource, but can be generated through leveraging what power you have through the efforts of others.
Step 2 generated a statement of reality surrounding your involvement in organizational decision making. Step 3 established the desired state of having an empowered organization. Combined, they establish a performance gap. The necessary action steps may include communication, boundary clarification, goal alignment, and employee development.
Repeat the process until you are getting the results you desire.
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