Empowered employees are 67% more keen to put in extra efforts at work. Even if you weren’t aware of this exact statistic, most organizations are now privy to the fact that empowered employees and managers display higher productivity, engagement, and investment in their jobs. But despite being aware of this, many do not know how to truly empower their managers.
Think about it. Empowerment means establishing a sense of control, independence, and authority. But most people in managerial positions who are higher up in the hierarchy, and thereby have more power, should already be feeling empowered, right?
Because more than having the sense of empowerment, it comes down to feeling empowered. And though your managers already are placed in a position of authority, it does not mean that are ready to make use of that authority and independent decision-making! And that’s where lies the problem.
More than having the freedom to make decisions, it comes down to feeling capable of making those decisions. This is what it means to empower your managers with a sense of authority.
Let’s look at 4 ways you can ensure that your managers truly feel empowered.
Classification of responsibilities/decisions
It is highly possible that though your managers are aware of the decisions that they are responsible for, they haven’t been explicitly told which decision they can make completely independent of higher approvals. And this is where doubts start creeping in.
As leaders and HR managers, it becomes your responsibility to make these demarcations and convey them to the managers clearly. Let them know about the different brackets of responsibilities. And which decisions they can make solely on their personal analysis and which decisions they need to discuss with upper management before putting into action. This will ensure that the managers know when to seek a second opinion and when they are expected to follow their own judgment.
Stay away from micro-management
Once these classifications have been made and conveyed further, the next important thing is to ensure that the rules of these classifications are followed. This means, allowing the managers to truly make independent decisions without feeling like they are being micro-managed or regularly doubted. This will only make them doubt their own capabilities, which down the line will hamper their performance and innovation.
Because nothing says ‘I don’t trust you’ like being micro-managed at every point of decision making.
Free-flow of information
This is key to building a strong sense of authority in managers which allows them to feel empowered. Without realizing you may be keeping important information from your managers. Or even creating a system of information-silos. In this context, it can mean that your managers do not have the right resources to make informed decisions. Leading them to feel incapable and doubting their own efficiency.
This is why you must establish a free flow of information within your manager community. Where they are privy to all the data and analysis they need to perform well, as well as where they can have open conversations with one another. What’s more, there must be an open channel available to them to communicate with their managers. So when unsure, they know they can access their leaders to enable their own decision-making process. When they feel like they are being supported, they will automatically begin to have a stronger sense of their own capabilities and empowerment.
Coaching sessions with leaders
For a continued sense of one’s abilities, one must also experience a sense of growth and development. And for managers especially, this has to go beyond the regular L&D initiatives. This means extending their opportunities for growth to coaching sessions with the organization leaders.
This is especially critical for managers you can envision going further up the ladder in the organization. When they are given frequent chances to have one-on-one discussions with their leader about their career development, they start to feel more confident of their performance and potential. And this translates to them having a stronger sense of authority while making decisions as per their KRAs. Leading to more empowered managers who are willing to be creative and innovative even in times of crisis.
Yes, you may have given your managers the autonomy and control they need to feel empowered, but to truly make them feel empowered you must instill in them a sense of authority. And the 4 measures we laid out can be fruitful first steps in making them feel capable and confident enough to put their empowerment into practice.
Are you looking to explore interesting and unique ways of empowering your managers? Feel free to connect with us, we would be more than happy to connect and converse with you!