How to empower employees and create a more inclusive culture? (the 5th Habit of inclusion)

Organizations desire more diversity because it brings many competitive benefits.  Divers teams are more creative, solve problems in a variety of ways and react with more empathy to customer's needs. Earlier, I discussed 4 habits that can help create a more inclusive culture. Employees need to feel that they are treated with fairness and openness and that cooperation and support are core to the company's culture. In fact there is a 5th habit that will complement the 4 others: Employees Empowerment.  But what is it?

A. A definition of Empowerment 

Empowerment is to give the power to an employee so that he can execute his work using is full power. You empower your employees when they are allowed to take decisions on the way they perform their job. You empower them by trusting their capabilities to be independent.

One important thing is also to recognize that each individual has a different definition of empowerment. I may define empowerment as letting me do what ever I want as long as you get the end result. This would be my definition of empowerment. Someone else may feel powerless if you told them to achieve their weekly goals without giving them advice on how to get there. This is the tricky part. As a leader you have to find out how to empower each employee while making them feel all valued.

Your challenge is not to empower the mass but to empower individuals. You need to adapt your actions based on the person in front of you. This is where Emotional Intelligence is a key. You need some empathy to feel what the other person needs and ask questions to make sure that you are on the right track. "Do you prefer a monthly or weekly meeting to discuss the evolution toward your goals?"
"Are you willing to work more independently?" "How do you feel about deciding how to do your job and share your insights with me in order to find the best strategy?"

Empowering someone is helping him to find his voice. It is allowing employees to express their needs and desires while making sure it helps the business move forward. What will create a win-win result? What can you give employees so that they thrive?

B. How to empower my employees?

It is always easier said than done and each leader needs a different set of advice but in general there are few thing at which you could become better at. I encourage you to look at your habits and behavior and see which one you could try to improve or reinforce. Do not try to change everything at once. It won't work. Decide on one behavior and track your evolution. 

A leader that empowers its employees:

  • gives them goals & expectation
  • Encourages them 
  • Allows autonomous work
  • is friendly 
  • is positive 
  • recognizes individuals work 
  • gives regular Feedback & Feed-forwards  
You may decide to encourage more your employees. How does it looks like? What do you say or do? What reaction are you expecting to have? When do you think you have learned a new habit? 

Personal development requires time, dedication and the ultimate desire to become a better person. You cannot expect the world to change if you do not change yourself. Your company culture has to change one person at a time. 

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