By Renae Sanders
It’s no secret. Employees do not leave companies they leave their managers. The strongest link between employee empowerment and engagement is the relationship between employees and their immediate managers. When the relationship between manager and employee is great, the employee’s feeling of value and loyalty to the company is strong. The inverse is also true; got turnover? Look in the mirror, then look at your managers.
Oh, sure! Many external issues can sour a relationship, but a strong manager with average to high intelligence quotients in the areas of communication, empathy, and emotion can manage poor performance with grace. Greater still is the influence of leaders and managers on the workplace environment that has the greatest impact on workers. Are you and your leadership team trustworthy? Is transparency an authentic aspect of your organization?
Trust contributes to a positive working environment characterized by honest, supportive relationships. Trust enables the open exchange of ideas and the quality and quantity of information exchanged (Moye & Henkin, 2005); Employee empowerment is enabling rather than delegating. It’s enhancing others’ sense of value and confidence. Managers with a clear sense of self as connected, not duplicated or separate, are able to build performance which leverages the diverse talents of team members rather than focusing on difference or trying to create a team of mirror images of the manager.
Trust is important to constructive relationships and well-functioning organizations (Moye & Henkin, 2005). The trust and relationship employees have with supervisors and managers can increase innovative behaviors and satisfaction with the boss. At its best empowered employees have the confidence and motivation to make decisions which benefit the organization. Empowerment and organizational effectiveness are linked.
If your organization or team does not have the depth or commitment from workers focused on a common goal, or where the relationships among managers and workers does not inspire esprit de corps; then take a long hard look at the relationships between managers and workers.
Moye, M.J. & Henkin, A.B. (2005). Exploring associations between employee empowerment and interpersonal trust in managers. The Journal of Management. 25(2), 101-117.