Empowerment is defined as, “the process that provides greater autonomy to employees through the sharing of relevant information in the provision of control over factors affecting job performance.”
Empowerment helps remove the conditions that cause powerlessness while enhancing employee feelings of self efficacy. It also authorizes employees to cope with situations and enables them to take control of problems as they arise.
Five broad approaches to empowerment are:
- Helping employees achieve job mastery – giving proper training, coaching, and guided experience that will result in initial successes.
- Allowing more control – giving them discretion over job performance and then holding them accountable for outcomes.
- Providing successful role models – allowing them to observe peers who already perform successfully on-the-job.
- Using social reinforcement in persuasion – giving praise, encouragement, and verbal feedback designed to raise self-confidence.
- Giving emotional support – providing reduction of stress and anxiety through better role definition, task assistance, and honest caring.
When managers use these approaches, employees begin believing that they are competent and valued, that their jobs have meaning and impact, and that they have opportunities to use their talents. In effect, when they have been legitimately empowered, it is more likely that their efforts will pay off in both personal satisfaction and the kind of results that the organization values.