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Empowerment: What Is It?

To give power or authority; to authorize, especially by legal or official means. To give or delegate power or authority.

Without empowerment there is no commitment.

Business definition: Empowerment is the process of enabling or authorizing an individual to think, behave, take action, and control work and decision-making in autonomous ways. It is the state of feeling self-empowered to take control of one’s own destiny. As a broad definition empowerment means giving employees the power to do their job. Delegation is appointing someone else to act on your behalf; empowerment gives the employee the power for decision making in carrying on the assignment.

Think of empowerment as the process of an individual enabling himself to take action and control work and decision-making in autonomous ways driven by his/her own initiative. Empowerment comes from the individual with help and enticement from management. Empowerment is a desirable management and organizational style that enables employees to use their skills and abilities to benefit both their organization and themselves.

The organization has the responsibility to create a work environment that helps foster the ability and desire of employees to act in empowered ways, and the responsibility to remove barriers that limit the ability of staff to act in empowered ways. Working in a culture of empowerment, employees are free to use the knowledge they acquired, the experience gained by that freedom, and the motivation of being a true part of the business.

Empowered employees feel a sense of ownership in their projects and functions with the resulting excitement and motivation to perform. As “owners” of their projects they become accountable for results, doubling the benefits to the organization.

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