Empowering people
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Empowering people
Article Introduction
Power can be taken, but not given. The process of the taking is empowerment in itself.

Article Description
Empowerment is the key component of the business arena. Unless the organizations find new methods to empower people, it would not be possible for them to get closer to the customer, improve service delivery, continuously innovate, increase productivity, and avail the competitive edge. Empowerment in specific term means increasing the skills of both sides to make better decisions for themselves rather than power-balancing or redistribution. It also means encouraging people to become more involved in the decisions and activities that affect their jobs. Specifically, Bush and Folger use the term "empowerment" to mean "The restoration to individuals of a sense of their own value and strength and their own capacity to handle lifes problems." Empowerment is a major issue accompanying this transition. Workers must be able to feel confident in their decision-making abilities, must feel supported by the company environment, and, most of all, must be able to make good, effective decisions in a teams-based organization. Empowerment is a process, and a necessary one in organizations where workers are used to doing their jobs essentially on autopilot as their supervisors make all decisions for them. The next issue is how to help employees feel empowered. A good starting-point in the empowerment process in an organization is to see how empowered its employees feel (Robinson, 1997, p. 3). An Empowerment Measure, a current state assessment of the organization along several dimensions, should be devised and conducted. While there cannot be a catchall, generic Empowerment Measure procedure, it should cover the general areas listed below : Organizational Structure, Management Style, Worker Profile, Informal Power, Organizational Culture. Empowerment encourages employees to participate actively in the decision making process. The first essential in any attempt to empower staff is an efficient and comprehensive communication system. In most organisations, the flow of information and ideas tends to be downwards. If the employees are to be fully empowered then it is essential that they have access to channels of upward communication, which is within their own control. The ultimate goal of empowerment is to create a workbase of employees who are informed and engaged in the organizations functioning, and feel enabled to contribute through their actions.

There are various guidelines to empowerment which are as follows :
Making of a leader
Empowerment in an organization is the a key criteria.An empowered is driven by the force to be at his best to achieve whatever he desires to achieve. Here the person feels responsible and creative and drives other people in the organization to achieve the best he wants. People in the empowering organization are aware of what the organization expects out of them and how well they are meeting their targets. An empowered person often tends to feel at the centre of a go-getter team. Once that individual knows the organisational needs, top management becomes relatively less important. This may be called Me model. They are able to help create the objectives and their experience finds into the development of credible strategies. . In this model, the empowering leader performs, develops and helps people to perform and deliver their performance, information and development for the organisation.

Organizational Structure
Basically, a diagram of the organizational power structure, but also, a sort of cast of characters in the process. Identify all components of the organization. Included should be departments, job descriptions, and other key players, such as unions, employee action committees, the role of customers and suppliers, etc. Traditional ("Theory X") organizations would be hierarchical in arrangement, each individual manager responsible for a layer below them, on down to the worker. A key issue in regards to empowerment is how deep the hierarchy goes, i.e., how many layers of management it has. The more levels to the hierarchy, the less power and autonomy is relegated to workers. It also may be a good indicator of how autocratic the organizations culture may be . Exceptionally deep structures will require significant empowerment implementation procedures and organizational restructuring if the transition to a teams environment is to be successful.The organization structure helps one to know the level of Empowerment that every organization has.

Management structure
Management structure is an important key in any organization. The structure of any management is also one of the revealing factor that helps to determine the level of empowerment an organization has. Empowerment allows organisation to respond rapidly, flexibly and effectively to customer and market demands. The result is reduced waste, delays and errors. Flexible management empowers staff to take fast decisions based on clear vision of success and explicit goals. It is forward focussed, expects change and operates by trying to anticipate future demands as well as present demands. Once the structure of the organization has been determined, there must now be a sort of assessment of how employees are managed. This is different from the personality assessments later in the process in that it is simply an assessment of each layer of the hierarchy to see how much supervision is given or needed and how broad the span of control is. Fairly broad spans of control would mean less supervision and thus perhaps workers more used to functioning relatively independently. More narrow spans mean a higher level of supervision and less autonomy for the workers. Also, attention should be paid to what sort of disciplinary practices there are, i.e., how is tardiness handled, is there a "quota" for production and what happens when employees do not meet it, evaluation process, etc. If these policies are in place to regulate and control, then empowerment will be low. If instead they are aimed more to guide the employees and develop and nurture them, then there is a high likelihood of feeling empowered. Employee empowerment offers those concerned about greater employee commitment to the organisations goals, a technique that provides win-win situation. Employees gain greater sense of ownership through the added responsibility and authority. Employers, meanwhile, gain by increased productivity, better quality and reduce labour turnover. An organisation is empowered when people have the information they need to make decisions about the organisation.
In empowering organisation, every one understands importance of good work. In hamstrung organisation, planners working in dark, leave gaps between their own expectations and those of the people who have to carry out the plans. The difference between the empowered group and hamstrung group is that the group decides what measures are most appropriate. It takes a good leader to empower people. Without confidence in their leader, people feel that it is risky to take responsibility. People want day-to-day leadership from their own supervisors. Empowering people is not a skill or competence. It is a strategy for the organisation and a personal conviction for the manager.

Workplace culture

Youve certainly heard the term "culture" as it applies to a work-place environment. Culture in the work place means the same thing as it does when social scientists refer to the culture of a society or group of people. It is a term that refers to the mores, customs, and norms that characterize the interactions of members of a particular work group.Work place culture is something thats within a person or a group of individuals in matters of taking decisions etc. Organizational culture can be described as a set of collective beliefs and values that influence behavior. organizations that create and maintain a healthy workplace culture find the incidence of depression decreasing. Employees who feel well, empowered and respected, not only benefit personally, but are more productive and less costly to their employers health and benefits costs.Creating a healthy organization involves first understanding the culture of the organization and creating a culture of trust and respect, where recognition, flexibility, control, good communication, purpose and balance are valued. When organizational health is approached from a cultural perspective -- versus a program approach -- there is a much greater likelihood of affecting employee well-being (mental, physical, spiritual, emotional and social). When employees "feel good" they are more energetic, creative, innovative and productive - qualities that are essential to an organizations competitive advantage. These qualities lead to a healthier organization. An organisation is empowered when people have the information they need to make decision about the operation in which they are engaged; the motivation to make these decisions in the best interest of the organisation and the authority.
Posted : 10/21/2005

Empowering people