"Empowerment allows an organisation to unlock the hidden potential in its workforce." — Adrian Guttridge, Manager, Andersen Consulting
Empowerment may not be a new concept to you, but many organisations experience problems because they don’t know how to ‘live it’. It is still too common for ‘delegation’ and ‘empowerment’ to be confused, and for the latter to be regarded as something you can use over somebody else, like having authority.
Empowerment is not delegation because:
Empowerment is where the organisation has enabled or coached the employee and now continues to support that person within the scope of his or her own work, as previously agreed
Delegation is about giving away parts of your own job to someone else; it is not about giving people scope within their own jobs
However, the processes involved in delegating should be similar to those for empowering. With empowerment, accountability and responsibility rest with the person empowered. With delegation, responsibility can be passed on but accountability for ensuring the work is done stays with the person who delegated the task.
An empowered organisation encourages the entire company to believe in empowerment and checks to see that the ‘infrastructure’ for empowerment is in place.