There is so much attention given to empowerment. And there is so much attention given to entitlement.
Organizations provide empowerment to individuals so that they are free to create, free to make decisions, to be partners within their organization, and often so that they are free to define their purpose. So often work colleagues when given an opportunity to be empowered, they accept this opportunity and use it as a self-serving tool, or worse it becomes a private arsenal.
Working in healthcare, retail, and outside sales, I have heard workers demand more pay, the need to have ample time to work on personal projects, they want a larger support staff, a bigger budget, flexibility in work hours, immunity from responsibility and accountability, and to assume absolutely no risk.
Self-interest and it is not good for the organization. What is this? It is an entitlement, of course! Entitled employees firmly believe that their needs come before their organization. Why do some employees even think that work is a type of martyrdom? The company owes them because they are making a sacrifice.
Empowerment is not a right or entitlement; empowerment is an obligation of commitment to our work, our employer, our management, our team. When empowered, one accepts responsibility for success, but then must also accept responsibility for failure. Organizations that empower their colleagues, as well as the colleagues themselves, must all wholeheartedly understand that commitment must be to the community within their team and the whole company, not to one’s individual career aspirations or personal interests.
How does this all come together? Those in top leadership, with the greatest amount of experience, are to provide a strategy and focus. Then those reporting to top leaders must, in essence, teach collaboration, service, and empowerment.
All said and done, commitment and empowerment can lead to the pursuit of focused projects and strategies of the organization with success.