You can’t implement a bottom-up concept in a top-down way.
Empowerment is just some wishy-washy claptrap that managers use to carry on exerting their own power, isn’t it?
Well, yes, it is – if folks don’t really understand empowerment. But folks who get empowerment know and feel a different version.
I’ve most often read about this different version in public services like health and social care. So reading this take on empowerment in, erm, the US Navy was exhilarating!
There’s lot in there to think and reflect on, but here are a couple of choice snippets:
Saying we need an empowerment program is like saying we need a swimming program. The implication is that swimming isn’t a natural occurring behavior for our people. So, what we are saying when we say we need an empowerment program is that the fundamental way we run our organization is dis-empowering.
If it takes the boss to empower them, the boss can unempower them, and that’s not very powerful.
If it can work in the US Navy, e.g.
The highest performing teams in the military perform in highly decentralized, and empowered ways.
… then I’m pretty sure it can work in health and social care (and public service management more generally).