Empower Your Employees or They Become Powerless

During the ’90s there was a big push to flatten the organization. The theory goes that if you empower your employees then more gets done. You have to trust that their errors are few and far between. But that is a difference, you are accepting errors in the first place. Organizations that have many layers of leadership tend to move slower.

A study by Adam Galinsky called Power and Perspectives Not Taken and featured on Time.com talks about the acceptance of position. The Time.com article focuses on the implication for organizations. If you are perceived as powerful you are more likely to lead in your area of power, but if you are perceived as inconsequential then you are less likely to achieve beyond your place. And this perception actually manipulates your mental state to dig your hole even deeper.

Here’s an excerpt from the Time.com article by Kate Pickert called Does Power Corrupt? Absolutely Not:

“The biggest and most significant implication [of the power study] is
for organizations,” says Galinsky. “If you could increase an employee’s
sense of power, it should improve their executive function, which would
decrease incidence of catastrophic errors.” If that reasoning holds up
in the real-world workplace, simple acts of empowerment, such as
encouraging employees to make suggestions to company management, could
reduce unnecessary mistakes. And that could translate to fewer
medication errors in hospitals, fewer airline accidents or even a lower
risk of a disaster at a nuclear power plant. They seem like powerful
reasons to embrace a theory.


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