Empowering Versus Managing: helping your workers feel supported and involved beyond their everyday tasks

Managing and empowering are two different things. While leaders do need to manage their teams and tasks, empowering employees is about doing more than just making sure the team is meeting their deadlines. Empowering workers instead of merely managing them

is about delegating, giving decision-making authority, and helping them come together in a way that lets them be a part of something beyond their work tasks.

Daniel Goleman, author of the best-selling book, Emotional Intelligence, writes in a recent Korn Ferry article that while some organizations have felt the effects of what some are calling “The Great Resignation”, others are thriving and employee satisfaction ratings are soaring. 

“According to The Great Place to Work Institute, 70% of the 2021 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For saw record jumps in employee experience scores over the past year, “ Goleman writes. “What are they doing right? For one, they’re focused on more than the bottom line.”

Goleman uses OhioHealth as an example of an organization that’s doing just that. 

“To bolster a sense of meaning and purpose in the workplace, the 12-hospital healthcare system created Adopt-a-Unit, a program born of non-clinical and professional associates who recognized that frontline staff needed extra support,” Goleman explains. “When the program kicked off, close to 40 departments raised their hand to ‘adopt’ a frontline team, providing them with extra encouragement in the form of handwritten “thank you” notes, public displays of gratitude, snack or meal deliveries and items to support self-care.” 

Goleman also cites a survey from The Great Place to Work Institute that emphasizes how much it boosts employee satisfaction to see their leadership caring about the community. “Giving back has made all the difference in the employee experience over the past two years,” Goleman writes. “In a survey of more than 500,000 employees across 22 different industries, the institute found that employees felt 15.6 times better about their workplace when they witnessed their leaders giving back during the pandemic.”

A recent Forbes article addresses similar ideas and encourages leaders to create a more productive workplace by helping employees feel empowered by making personal development a key focus. “If your employees never have good ideas, it’s possible that they lack knowledge, skills, expertise or experience. These people need to develop new skills. There is a very strong correlation between the emphasis a team has on development and high empowerment,” The article states. “Developing team members sends a message that employees are valued and the organization is willing to invest in them as people.”

The article also cites a study from Zenger Folkman that found that only 4% of employees are willing to give extra effort when empowerment is low but 67% are willing when empowerment is high.  “Empowerment impacts the engagement of the team, but it also impacts productivity. The discretionary effort of employees (willingness of employees to give extra effort) has a significant impact on productivity,” The article explains. “As a leader, the other major benefit of having a highly empowered team is that you get to work with a group of satisfied people who are willing to work hard. It’s the best of all outcomes. Who wouldn’t want to strive for this goal?”

Employee experience is key to retention, and those in leadership can go beyond their own managerial tasks by empowering their workers to be involved beyond their own tasks as well.





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