[nrp soundbites] How to empower – Wrap up

[28 July 2021] Day 58 of the nrp* in Malaysia

I have given 6 quick tips on how to create an empowering culture by

1. Letting go of fear and starting to trust
2. Flattening the hierarchy and setting clear objectives to employees
3. Delegating with the intention to develop
4. Providing the resources to support your employees (and see an increase in customer loyalty)
5. Being open to feedback
6. Encouraging creativity and see innovation thrive

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[nrp soundbites] How to empower – Tip #5: Feedback

[13 July 2021] Day 43 of the nrp* in Malaysia

A few years ago, I was doing a project consulting project for a software company. The management had assigned Samantha, an experienced executive to act as a resource person. As I worked with her, I noticed that Samantha would stick to a very fixed way of performing her tasks and never want to learn any new ways. She would never tell me why and each time, she goes on a very long explanation about the process she takes. When asked for ideas and opinion, she would not contribute any. At first, I thought she was inflexible and unteachable.

But then, I found that this was a common trait among the staff that worked for the same department that Samantha worked in. I noticed that their manager is a subject matter specialist and takes the effort to correct his staff when they made any mistakes. He is not nasty when he does it and I believe he truly wants them to learn. But it would be better if he had balanced his feedback to be both supportive and corrective in nature.

So as a result, like Samantha, they will not want to try anything new nor share their thoughts. They don’t really know how they are performing as they feel they are being corrected all the time.

Empower and give feedback

In this How to Empower series, I have shared the following:

  1. Stop fearing and start trusting
  2. Flatten your hierarchy and set clear objectives
  3. Delegate with intent to develop to increase employee engagement
  4. Provide resources to support and see increase in your customer loyalty

Empowering employees does not mean they are to be left on their own and figure out how they are doing at their work. Expect mistakes and provide feedback.

Positive feedback works better

I’d like to share something that a friend taught me about giving feedback.

If you want to help someone improve, catch them when they do something right.

Steven Cheah

Often, leaders feel they need to point out mistakes that employees have done so as to avoid the mistake being repeated. There’s a limit to how effective this is. How many times have you heard leaders say this — Despite my reminders so many times, I still see the mistake being made.

By praising employees when they do something right, you are reinforcing the right behavior and you will see more of this behavior. This increases their confidence as well as trust in you as a leader.

How did this help Samantha? I started by giving her goals, instead of tasks. I did not give her any fixed processes and asked her to tell me what was the best way to achieve these goals. She was not used to it at first. I also made sure my feedback was positive and took the time to acknowledge when she did something right. She became more confident and had stopped justifying every single step of the process she took.

(Read the other parts about empowerment)

(*nrp stands for National Recovery Plan.)
(Feature Image by Robin Higgins from Pixabay.)

About the Author: Gina Phan is a consultant and trainer with Zinfinity Consulting. She currently conducts courses in workplace performance skills. Click here to contact her, follow her on Facebook or connect with her on Linkedin.

Read her other posts.

#leadership #servantleadership #empower #empowermenttips #management #feedback
#trainergina #ginaphan #gp

[nrp soundbites] How to empower – Tip #3: Delegate to develop

[6 July 2021] Day 36 of the nrp* in Malaysia

Empowerment increases employee engagement. According to Joseph Folkman who analysed data on more than 7,000 employees, people who felt a low level of empowerment were rated with engagement at the 24th percentile, whereas those with a high level of empowerment were at the 79th percentile.

After Tip #1 and Tip #2, let’s see how delegation helps.

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[nrp soundbites] How to empower – Tip #2: Flatten and set clear objectives.

[1 July 2021] Day 31 of nrp* in Malaysia

On this first day of the second half of the year, I share the second tip on how to empower successfully. To make empowerment effective, it’s good to flatten the hierachy. Flat organisations have few or no levels of intermediate management between staff and leaders. This “flattened” hierarchy increases employee involvement through a decentralized decision-making process.

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[nrp soundbites] Why leaders should empower their employees?

[28 June 2021] Day 28 of NRP Phase 1* in Malaysia

Remember the days where we had to go to the bank to deposit a cheque? Back in the day, I would arrive at the banking hall, take my queue number and wait for my turn. When my number is called, I approach the counter, present the cheque and my savings account book. The bank officer the bank would take both, process it and then pass it over to someone with a higher authority to checkmark on the slip before my attempt to put money into my own account is considered successful. I have always been amazed as to how inefficient this process is. Not only does it take longer to complete a transaction, but it shows how disempowered the person working at the counter is.

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[fmco soundbites] I thought I was being empathetic, really.

[27 June 2021] Day 27 of the fmco* in Malaysia

Yesterday, I posted about how a leader should be empathetic. This is not something that we can get right all the time. It can be pretty tricky.

Many years ago, one of my co-worker was going through a difficult time because her mother was at the last stages in her battle with cancer. After work, she would rush to the hospital and stay with her mom throughout the night. I did not know at first but detected some change in the quality of her work. When I talked to her, she explained her situation to me.

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[fmco soundbites] The org chart (part 8) – Becoming invisible

[17 June 2021] Day 17 of the fmco* in Malaysia

Some leaders want to build the organisation and community centred on them and their abilities. While others prefer to truly serve his people from behind. A few days ago, I wrote about the Lion Dance troupe. One of the major roles in the community is its invisible leader.

In most lion dance troupe, the sifu is the owner/founder/guru. Nobody knows more than him. He is respected by his students and by his peers. (cue Wong Fei Hong theme song) And yet, most times, he is not seen and does not seem to take up any role in the performance. People know his abilities through the work of his students. His presence is felt.

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[fmco soundbites] The org chart (part 7) – Self Awareness

picture of a man in Guy Fawkes mask looking at a smaller Gur Fawkes mask in his right hand
[15 June 2021] Day 15 of the fmco* in Malaysia

Who am I?
Back in 1979, one of my favourite songs was Supertramp’s Logical Song. There’s one part in which they sing “I know it sounds absurd, Please tell me who I am….” Self-awareness can be rare.
A holistic understanding of the various approaches in servant leadership requires self-awareness in the leader.

Often, people in positions of authority and power are blissfully ignorant of their own strengths, as well as their shortcomings. We need to be conscious of how our own behavior, the expression of our values and emotions, and our psychological biases affect those around us. This becomes even more essential during critical moments. It is key to establishing trust and openness in your team.

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[fmco soundbites] The org chart (part 5) – Committed to others

[12 June 2021] Day 12 of the fmco* in Malaysia

Wolves are interesting animals. The wolf has these indispensable qualities: sociability, and a capacity for learning, communication, and expression. According to Living with Wolves blog, they live in well-coordinated and collaborative packs. They form unique bonds and care for each other individually, which is the foundation of their cooperative living. In short, they are devoted and committed to the pack.

What great leadership lessons we can derive from them?

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[fmco soundbites] The org chart (part 4) – Compassion

[10 June 2021] Day 10 of the fmco* in Malaysia

The upside down organisation chart and how a compassionate leader can inspire people to new heights.

My friend, Jasmine shared her experience to me. She used to head the smaller Malaysian office for a US-based company and had been working there for about 8 years when it happened. I am sure you agree that her boss showed what compassion at the workplace means in real terms.

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[fmco soundbites] The org chart (part 3) – Passion

[9 June 2021] Day 9 of the fmco* in Malaysia

Many of us are so used to the organisation being top-centric where authority lives and directives are flowed down. The upside-down organisation chart is something that we need to consciously adopt and adapt to.

If you visualise the upside-down org chart, you will see that the leader literally is supporting and holding up the entire structure. What drives this leader?

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