I love that word empowerment. It gives me goose-bumps every time I feel I have helped a client feel empowered. I don’t empower them of course…only they can feel empowered, usually by an “aha” moment that I have triggered in their mind. I would see the word empowerment as really self-empowerment because it is a feeling and feelings are always generated within one’s own self.
To me empowerment is the positive feeling you get when you are free to fertilize your natural talents with passionate interests - even better with positive like-minded people. It's what human nature is all about... but life tends to get in the way.
Empowerment is an especially powerful word in the workplace. Without it, an organisation is held back, the unlimited natural potential of its people being stifled and frustrated. Empowerment energizes everything about a business/team - productivity, commitment, innovation, staff stability and lack of conflict. Stress is down, mental fitness is up and resilience abounds.
I was once required to establish an information unit which included taking over the responsibilities of the reception staff. Prior to that they had always transferred most enquiries to a person specializing in the area of enquiry. If that person was out (which was often the case), they would arrange a call back.
I had sensed there was frustrated talent in the reception group. Nonetheless they looked at me aghast when I said from now on they are going to be responsible for providing answers to enquiries. As a team we worked out a process for the change and I encouraged them to use their experience in reception work to come up with ideas. If I could see that an idea had holes in it, I responded with “what would we do if…?” types of questions and get them to work it through further.
Within a few months the unit was humming along beautifully, using ideas and systems that the team had largely developed among themselves. Callers and visitors to the organisation were now enjoying the services of a confident, efficient and incredibly helpful group of people. They had bonded into a team who felt empowered to not only provide the service expected of them. Of their own volition, they took the meaning of service to a new level, such was their enthusiasm – even passion – to please customers and staff alike.
The power of empowerment is boundless.