Empowerment: what is it, and What are the benefits of Empowerment?

By Dickson Osas

For years, experts have sought and experimented with various theories, techniques, and tools within companies to improve working conditions, increase motivation, and, consequently, productivity.

Most of these methodologies are related to leadership; after all, it is already more than proven that effective leadership is one of the main factors that make a business prosper. One of the strategies widely used by the administration is empowerment.

This concept that is borrowed from the English language can be what will make the team within an organization the most productive, motivated, and independent. However, nothing is as simple as it seems. To apply empowerment, we must first fully understand it.

With that in mind, we have developed essential material for you to understand and apply this concept in your work environment. Let’s check the content:

What does Empowerment mean?

Within a business context, empowerment is a jargon used to designate the act of transferring or conferring greater power and authority, granting conditions, abilities, and permissions for this to be possible. Empowerment is a loosely translated word for “Empowerment.”

So, within a company, empowerment means trusting that collaborating people have what it takes to fulfill a particular responsibility and that they want to have control over them.

In this way, they can make decisions, deal with complex situations, resolve conflicts and even delegate tasks to other collaborating people, as they understand their value and role within the general context. This concept is based on confidence in the skills and character of the team.

Understanding what Power is!

Often, the word power is semantically associated with sovereignty, royalty, and high positions. However, this word goes far beyond that. It is essential to understand all the nuances of “power” to fully understand the word empowerment, as it is at the root of the concept.

The word force (power) has been studied a lot by several specialists. For Weber, for example, the word power is related to the ability to make other people do what we want, regardless of whether they agree. Different definitions involve control and influence as synonyms.

However, the problem with these definitions is that they make power not something associated with the human being, becoming more of a structure or a kind of supernatural “force” that cannot be changed or contradicted.

However, if we think of power as something created from the relationship between people, power and power relationships become concepts that can be changed and, therefore, are always in the process of change.

With this, we understood empowerment better and where it comes from: a process that can be used in different social spheres that, through communication and relationships, gives people more control over their own lives and actions.

 

What are the three conditions for Empowerment?

Corporate Empowerment is based on three fundamental conditions for its existence. Are they:

Autonomy

A fundamental part of empowerment concerns collaborating people managing to make decisions and influence when solving complex problems. However, this will only be possible when they have the autonomy to put their skills, points of view, and creativity into practice.

Corporate vision

With corporate vision, we are talking about the company’s culture, mission, values, ​​and objectives —everything that concerns how the company thinks and behaves. For collaborating people to be empowered, they need a clear vision of how the company works and where it wants to go. That way, it will be easier for them when they need to make an important decision.

Flexibility

It is necessary to understand that collaborating people are different, they will have extra time to empower themselves, and this process may happen differently for some. Therefore, it is necessary to have the flexibility to know how to make this transfer of authority in the right measure for each person.

What is the relationship between Empowerment and leadership?

As we have said before, Empowerment is one of the concepts used within leadership to indicate this process of empowerment of collaborating people. Authorization is only possible from a practical, well-organized leadership that knows its staff of uniting people.

Thus, before empowering those who work with them, the leadership must be sure that they are fully licensed and have the necessary resources to take this step. In negative cases, the necessary adjustments must be taken to make this happen.

What is the difference between Empowerment and Delegation?

As well as empowerment, task delegation is another term closely linked to business leadership and management. However, although they are part of the same whole, they are still made up of crucial differences. Let’s understand delegation first.

In the delegation:

  • The lead person needs to have a bird’s eye view of what’s going on, solve a problem and break it down into smaller parts;
  • Then, the leadership carefully analyzes each person’s abilities, delegating tasks to each profile.
  • To delegate, the lead person must have gone through a previous process of analyzing, managing, and understanding problems.

With Empowerment, this delegation of tasks is not necessary because:

  • The lead person must also see the big picture and understand the problem from all angles.
  • Considering that your team is empowered, it only needs to share this vision and convey the goals, that is, where the team needs to go to achieve the results.
  • Instead of delegating tasks, leadership trusts that each person understands their role and looks for a way to contribute, already knowing what studies are needed along the way.
  • Thus, with the necessary independence and confidence, collaborating people feel motivated and driven to perform their work in the best possible way, as they know that the leadership believes in their potential.

What are the benefits of Empowerment?

The benefits of Empowerment can be many; after all, empowered collaborating people will feel that:

  • your work is essential to the company;
  • can complete tasks with a higher success rate;
  • they will be able to work as they feel most comfortable;

With that, some of the positive results will be:

For collaborating people

  • The working environment will become lighter and without pressure;
  • They will be able to choose how and when to start and finish a task;
  • You will feel that you are using your total capacity;
  • They won’t have as many problems going through adaptations or changes;
  • They will become more motivated and inclined to specialize more;
  • You will lose the feeling of stagnation.

For the leadership

  • You will not need to focus so much on delegation of tasks and individual management, being able to focus on issues such as innovation, progress, and productivity;
  • You will need to put yourself in a mentoring role, which can provide a lot of knowledge and experience;

For business

  • Improved overall satisfaction;
  • The lower employee turnover;
  • Improvement of the brand image;
  • Possibility to adapt more quickly to a constantly changing market.

What are the challenges of applying Empowerment?

As might be expected, empowerment involves some challenges that may not be so simple to overcome for some organizations.

The first one is related to resources. For companies with limited availability of resources, results may need to be requested more quickly. In this case, it isn’t easy to empower a team, as they must act within a short time frame.

Another critical point to overcome is that when they start working in companies, most people do not have the discipline for this type of freedom, often due to a lack of training and experience. In this case, the company must be essential in guiding and instigating skills development.

A final challenge refers to the wide variety of organizational roles and performances. The same way of applying empowerment will not always be adequate and will work for all cases, which will require greater attention and a specialized solution.