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The leader or manager has the responsibility to select the right employees to be empowered for the right work, to provide the training and resources necessary, to set rules and boundaries and to apply accountability.

Unfortunately, talking about empowerment is a lot easier than creating the culture to make it work. The concept of empowerment was first introduced in business in the eighties. It promised much but because of the difficulties in implementing it, it didn’t quite give great results.

The difficulties were in implementing a change in management philosophy and in the understanding by both managers and employees of what it meant regarding responsibilities. The theoretical benefits were (still are) unquestionable, but in practice, the changes in mentality required were a barrier difficult to conquer.

Still today managers view empowerment as giving people the power to make decisions, and some employees view empowerment as being given the freedom to do what they want to do, without regard for position or authority. It is this misconception that gives rise to the difficulty of empowering employees and to the failure of empowering in some organizations.

In reality empowerment is a process to release the knowledge, experience, and motivation that is already in people but is being severely underutilized. When both managers and employees understand this, empowerment becomes easier, effective and rewarding to both.

Employees gain through empowerment a happier work environment and a sense of personal growth; companies gain a more efficient organization and a chance for continuous improvement through employee involvement.

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