4 Things Stopping Employees From Feeling Empowered In The Workplace
There are many factors that can contribute to staff feeling a sense of empowerment in their work.
However, following on from last week’s blog and what Matthew Nash commented on, there are differences between empowering a staff member through enabling them to exercise greater responsibility or freedom in their roles, and them actually feeling empowered.
In this blog, we will look at some of the more visceral triggers for a person’s sense of empowerment, and how it relates to the workplace.
Here are four factors that are at play when it comes to internal empowerment.
1. Psychological Safety
When talking about a person’s sense of feeling – like feeling empowered – we must look at their psychological wellbeing in the workplace.
A disempowering mindset will develop if one is not able to work in an environment where feel safe mentally, socially and physically.
If there are underlying factors that are contributing to poor psychological health – like high workloads, a “win at all costs” culture, drug / substance use in the workplace, bullying or ostracism, then the byproduct of that can be disempowerment.
2. Judgement and fear of judgement
A staff member feels disempowered when they feel judged.
The fear of being judged or feeling a sense of social rejection / not belonging in the workplace can impact on their sense of feeling empowered.
Are staff members supported by coworkers and leaders? When they speak up, or submit new ideas, do they feel like they are in a supportive and non-judgemental, inclusive workplace culture?
Building a culture that values inclusion and openness will provide an environment that fosters empowerment.
3. Internal confidence of competence
Competence breeds confidence.
Do you have your people in the right roles? Are they able to perform what they need to feel successful in a role? Have they got enough resources and support in order to successfully execute their tasks and processes?
If a person is lacking competence, or simply feel like they’re not succeeding or winning in their role, then disempowerment will follow.
When an employee feels confident in their ability to be competent, then that leads to an increase in feelings of empowerment, thus cultivating increases in productivity and performance.
If a staff member is lacking competence, provide opportunities or upskilling, and set some smaller, more achievable tasks or a series of “quick wins” that can help them to feel more competent.
4. Not being heard.
The quickest way to disempower a staff member is to ignore their communication with you.
If a staff member is feeling unheard, or feels like they don’t have a voice or say in the business / or on their projects, it will rapidly disarm their confidence.
Always provide an opportunity for staff to check in with you, and ask them if there’s anything they want to share about their project, discoveries, department or decisions being made by leaders / management.
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