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5 ways human-centred leaders can empower employees

When it comes to being a human-centred leader, knowing how to empower your employees is essential to creating a cohesive and successful team. Research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology reveals how psychological empowerment is “strongly related to important employee attitudes such as job satisfaction and organizational commitment.” Additionally, researchers uncovered that individual-level psychological empowerment correlates to strong team-based empowerment and has a positive effect on team performance. When you empower your employees, you can transform your organization into a dynamic environment that nurtures collaboration.

A human-centred approach to leadership means recognizing the strengths in each individual and helping them reach their full potential. Empowering employees is about creating a supportive work environment where everyone feels comfortable taking initiative and sharing their thoughts. By prioritizing empowerment in the workplace, leaders can help employees feel motivated and excel at their jobs. Employee empowerment is pivotal for both individuals and the organization to succeed. Here are 5 practical ways you can empower your employees in the workplace:

  1. Equip your employees with resources to succeed
    Before implementing any training programs or tools, it’s crucial for leaders to identify what their employees require from them to succeed in their jobs. Don’t assume what your employees need without first asking them. Once you know what support systems your employees need, you can provide them with relevant training and equip them with the skills they need to succeed. As a leader, it’s important to remain patient and keep communication channels open and accessible because figuring out how to support employees to succeed can take time. You can also consider making these check-ins a regular habit so employees can effectively update leaders should their needs change.
  2. Build strong relationships
    According to Forbes, “Empowering employees means building strong professional relationships based on mutual trust.” Establishing trust is the foundation of all relationships. You simply cannot build genuine connections without first establishing trust, after all. Employees are more likely to feel motivated in their work if they feel trusted and valued by their leader. Moreover, strong interpersonal relationships help with collaboration and collective understanding within the team. Fostering trust amongst team members also builds community and can help your team resolve conflicts faster. So get to know your employees personally—find out what they care about, what their values are, and what motivates them.
  3. Give your employees opportunities to be independent
    Empowering your employees to be independent means giving them opportunities to take ownership of their work whilst providing the support necessary for them to succeed. This doesn’t mean you should assign vague tasks and let your employees figure out what to do on their own or micromanage everything either. Rather, it’s about finding the right balance of guidance and independence. When employees feel trusted by their leaders, their confidence is boosted, and they are more likely to trust themselves and take initiative in their jobs. Encourage your employees to take initiative and trust that they have abilities to problem-solve creatively. Show your employees you want to see them succeed by providing them with growth opportunities.
  4. Regularly provide useful and encouraging feedback
    “Employees are 3.6 times more likely to strongly agree that they are motivated to do outstanding work when their manager provides daily (vs. annual) feedback,” according to Gallup. As leaders, you can make it a habit to actively provide regular feedback to your employees. Take time to also celebrate your employees’ achievements—big and small. Make sure the feedback you provide is useful, encouraging, and specific and not just given when you are dissatisfied with your employee’s work. Frequent feedback is essential to cultivating a workplace environment that strives to grow.
  5. Have a compelling collective purpose
    A compelling collective purpose is more than just goal setting: it is about building community with your employees by creating a shared vision. This shared purpose gives work meaning because it addresses the why behind the work you do. When people find meaning in their work, they feel motivated to continue doing their best. You can help your employees understand how their work contributes to the collective purpose by making sure the organization’s mission and values are clear. By fostering community through shared values, you can create a strong team that is engaged with you and the organization.

While empowerment can look different from individual to individual, it is necessary for creating a cohesive and successful team. Leaders must build strong interpersonal relationships with their employees to understand how they can best support and empower their employees. Everyone thrives when leaders create a work environment where employees feel valued and empowered.