Empowering people

on Sunday, April 29, 2012

On 27th of May I was privileged to attend second time for lecture by Wolfgang Steffens. This time he talked to us about lean, self organized teams and cost of delay.

Again there were a lot of good points and interesting topics in Wolfgang's lecture, but what probably hit me the most was the topic of victim versus empowered. Generally this applies to everything and can have a major impact of person's life. It boils down to this question: in case of some issue occurs, do you tend to be a victim or are you empowered and willing to do something about it?

Being victim is easy as you can blame external entities, there wasn't enough time, money or knowledge, I didn't have the power to make that decision, specifications were incomplete so I couldn't complete my work and so on. Although all of these can be true, empowered person would start to wonder what can I do about this. If the specifications are incomplete, maybe I could ask the other team to complete this by tomorrow. If we don't have enough money to implement all wanted features we will try to implement as many as we can as well as we can. Empowered person always thinks there is something I can do.

Being empowered is extremely important for productivity. But what can you do in order to empower the people around you, what does it require to be empowered? Few major things I wrote down from Wolfgang's session were ownership over what you do, being committed (I choose to ... because) versus being complied (I have to) and having meaning (clear vision, feeling of being part of something bigger).

Wolfgang said it well: "people want to be the best they can be". Of course there are exceptions, but generally this applies to everyone, I believe it is part of most human's nature to try to be the best they can be. At least I get satisfaction when I know I've done a good job. Give responsibility, let people make mistakes, let them learn and let them earn trust, let them be the best they can be and you will surely empower people in your organization.


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