Why It’s Hard for Managers to Make Their Employees Feel More Powerful and How This Can Sometimes Make Them Do Things That Aren’t Right
A recent survey shows that most American workers don’t feel very inspired at work. People who know about managing businesses often tell bosses to motivate employees by giving them more control. The thought is that when employees can make choices and handle their tasks their own way, they become more inspired, do better at their jobs, and come up with creative ideas.
But for a long time, efforts to make employees feel more powerful haven’t worked as well as people hoped. Take Zappos, for example. They used to be famous for not having bosses, but they’ve mostly gotten rid of that way of doing things in recent times. Because of this, when they try to make employees feel powerful, it usually doesn’t make much of a difference or doesn’t work at all. Sometimes, it can even make employees do things that aren’t right.
Here are 4 things we found in our research that a company can do to avoid common mistakes when trying to make leaders empower their employees.
Give Employees Everything That’s Necessary
Employees who feel empowered should be sure they can get what they need to do well. For instance, a person in marketing might need things like information databases, planning tools, and enough money for research. They should also know that they can get extra help when they have new ideas and need it.
To make this happen, companies can organize and budget jobs to ensure employees always have extra stuff they can use. Also, they can talk with employees often, like in team meetings and through digital messages, not just to say that extra things are there when needed but that getting those extra things is simple and fast.
Set the Right Strategies and Clear Goals
Gary Hamel, a person who knows a lot about managing businesses, said that people can’t manage themselves if they don’t have information. The aim is to give employees all the data they require to keep an eye on their work and make good choices.
To put it simply, businesses can make their employees feel more powerful by telling them how their jobs connect to the company’s bigger plan. For instance, the marketing person we talked about earlier might do better if they knew how the latest product fits with all the company’s other products.
Companies can also have regular chats or meetings where everybody in the company can ask questions about the company’s big goals and vision.
Show Strong and Steady Backing
Employees who feel empowered think they have the help they need from their work buddies, including their bosses, co-workers, and those who work under them. This help can be in the form of kind words or offers to help with projects and tasks.
In the same way, bosses can make it clear that they trust in the abilities of their employees and are there to help them grow and be independent. Companies can create an atmosphere that values and rewards actions that help employees become more self-reliant and provide support.
Get Rid of Unnecessary Rules and Things
Things like too many rules, office problems, not knowing what to do, and fighting with coworkers make employees feel really stressed, and that makes it hard for them to do their job well. This kind of stress is not the same as the kind of stress that can help you grow.
For instance, the marketing person we talked about before might have to fill out many long forms just to ask to use a database. Or maybe they have to do tricky things to get the money they need for a planning tool. Conflict could also be like silently competing with co-workers because they think they got unfair promotions or more resources.
To Sum Up
Empowering leaders makes employees want to work and feel grateful for the support. But if employees don’t have the right information, resources, or help to do their job, or if there’s too much stress, they might start thinking that they should just do whatever it takes to get by.
If top bosses really want to make their employees feel powerful, they can’t just tell managers to do it. They need to do more and care for those four things we discussed earlier. Otherwise, employees might feel like they’re on their own, trying hard to show what they can do, and they might even think about doing things that could hurt the company in the long run.
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