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Empowerment vs. Delegation

Written on June 23, 2010

There is a big mistake being made in the hallways, offices and cubicles across this country.  Senior managers are delegating tasks to staff members while mistaking the practice for empowerment.  This may be the case in some instances, but as a rule it’s way off base.

Here’s why:

Empowerment is:

The opportunity to make a difference based on our own inherent power to leverage professional experience to act competently and make decisions.

Delegation is:

Permission. It essentially boils down to a staff member acting on behalf of senior management.

Now before going any further, let’s be clear: there are times when delegation is just necessary.  What we’re saying is that they should not be mistaken for each other.

It’s all about culture

We empower our team and our consultants to make decisions and act appropriately based on a set of core values – values they themselves helped to shape.  These essential principles define the character and attitude of our company and give us a framework to guide our professional practice.  The culture we have created provides an enriching environment that is both professionally rewarding and personally satisfying.  Our strong moral base of honesty, professionalism and respect clearly sets us apart and continues to drive our success.

Empowerment is not conditional on success.  Rather, it brings about successful results.  It’s the embodiment of a team working together and trusting each other to do the right thing at the right time.

Have you ever worked in an environment that stifled empowerment and creativity?  Are you in a workplace now that celebrates empowerment?  We want to hear your thoughts, and we invite you to share them in the comments section below.

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