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Friday, May 16, 2014

Lean Quote: Empowering is About Coaching Not Managing

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Empowerment is all about letting go so others can get going.— Jack Welch

Empowerment may not be a new concept to you, but many organizations experience problems because they don’t know how to ‘live it’. Employee empowerment has been described and defined in many ways but is generally accepted as: the process of enabling an employee to think, behave, act, react and control their work in more autonomous ways, as to be in control of one’s own destiny.

Many managers feel that by empowering employees, they relinquish the responsibility to lead and control the organization. This is not the case. Empowerment is actually a culmination of many of the ideas and tenets of employee satisfaction.

The best way to empower employees is not to manage them. Coach them to success. This is a process of developing their skills and providing them specific feedback to meet high standards. Employees want to be on the same team with their bosses.

Empowering employees is the ongoing process of providing the tools, training, resources; encouragement and motivation your workers need to perform at the optimum level. When you show an employee you trust them, and give them timely information and the authority to find solutions, they will be able to solve problems and provide solutions more rapidly than someone without that empowerment.

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  1. Having read Jack's "Straight from the Gut," and based on his record as CEO at GE, I believe he used the above quote more often to actually mean, "Empowerment is about letting people go," as in terminations, layoffs, etc.

    Just kidding... sort of...

  2. Great post. Agree 100%. One of my favorite quotes, "people support what they help create" regarding coaching versus micro mgmt is another key to empowering your team/people. So stop telling them the "how" specifically and let them try it, create it, and then coach again as they bounce around towards the overall end goal you're (we're) going after.