Empowering Your Employees

The flat organizational model embraces the principles of flexibility, interpersonal communication and organizational learning. The conceptions of decision-making, problem solving and communication are interrelated. In addition, the success of the organization that adheres to the principles of flat organizational structure heavily depends on interpersonal communication skills. Therefore, the methods used to prepare employees at all levels for shifts in individual and group decision-making responsibility that come with flat organizational model, are very important.

Employee empowerment is one of the most important conceptions in organizational psychology, as it is used to express the ways and methods in which the company’s employees can make decisions (autonomous and independent decisions) with consulting no manager, or other authority in the organization. In the companies with strong hierarchical structure the necessity to make autonomous decisions is not very high, as there is always a manager or another authority able to decide for the employees and provide the most efficient decision. At the same time, when it comes to the companies with flat organizational structure, the managers often prefer giving the employees the ability to make decisions on their own, as employee empowerment is conductive to effective leadership and effective communication, continuous improvement orientation, positive working environment, shared vision, and positive links to community. The flat organizational model is a key element of a successful company, as it values the employees, and considers the employees to be worthy of achieving personal recognition, fulfillment and satisfaction through employee empowerment, thus increasing loyalty and fostering ownership. In addition, flat organizational model provides the company with the ability to cultivate profound relationships, and allows the organization operating in more efficient way.

In such a way, in the company with flat organizational structure the managers focus attention on various methods and ways to prepare the workers at all levels for shifts in individual and group decision-making responsibility that come with flat organizational model. To put it differently, employee empowerment in such organizations is the process where the culture of empowerment is clearly stated and developed; all the employees have shared vision, clear goals and objectives, as well as clearly defined boundaries for decision making (either individual, or group); the results of their efforts are shared, the employee’s competency (either in the form of experience, or the form of training) is also developed, and the support (in the form of cultural support, mentoring, or encouragement) is provided.

The managers should implement effective procedures and policies, as they are communication tools providing the employees with consistent approach to accomplish their daily tasks. In addition, these procedures and policies facilitate the employees’ communication and daily work, and focus their attention on the most important things, required to achieve the shared goals. On this step, employee empowerment implies adequate training, shared vision, and communication of necessary information.

Training and coaching are important as they are able to remove the barriers to employee empowerment present in the company’s organizational structure, and provide the employees with skills and knowledge required for making better decisions. The managers of the company should learn to give up control, share information, and create autonomy and feedback by coaching and training employees and making sure that the employees have required authority to accomplish their tasks properly. Training and coaching also provides the employees with necessary resources and support, and when the employees are properly coached and trained, they make decisions more effectively.

Next, the employees should be able to convey the company’s management policy and shared vision. In case the employees know the company’s vision, they hesitate less while making decisions, either individually, or in group (Pett, 1994). Then, the managers should undertake all measures to improve communication between the employees, and run operations between the company’s departments efficiently.

Employee empowerment may also be implemented through self-managed work teams: problem solving teams, and work teams. While problem-solving team is created for temporary purposes, work teams tend to be created as a permanent team. The work team, therefore, comprises of a group of individuals (5-12 persons) with the authority they require to direct and manage their operations. Team activity is expected to enhance working conditions, and to provide employees with better opportunities for self-development, self-expression, and enhanced productivity of the company in general. Self-managed teams provide the employees with the responsibility of decision-making and initiating organizational changes with less supervision. This is also important, as empowering the employees to make (and implement) routine decisions, and empowering them to make organizational changes (such as procedures, rules, policies, the physical plant, or equipment and supplies) are the important parts of employee empowerment. In such a way, effective teamwork strategy is the effective tool for employee empowerment, as it results in greater cooperation and commitment, and allows the employees to be able to respond to and to solve complex problems quickly.

Finally, as it was already mentioned, the support (in the form of cultural support, mentoring, or encouragement) is important. The encouragement boosts morale and acknowledges the job well done, thus providing employees with confidence and control in their work.

Five Steps To Personal Success

Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a successful individual? What do Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and others have that we, ordinary people, do not? If you think about it for a while, you will realise that it’s not a matter of greater intelligence, but mindset or attitude is the key to these people’s success.

You can be successful if:

1. You have vision. A well known quote from Jonathan Swift states that: “Vision is the art of seeing things invisible“. You need to have good ideas, to see into the future and think of something that you can create in order to help large masses of people. Whoever invented the cell phone hinted that it will be used by large masses of people.

2. You have a strong ambition and believe in your success. If you do not believe in your own success, you won’t make it. It takes a great deal of effort and time to succeed. Do not expect immediate gratification, but think long term. Focus on success and not money! Others did it, so why can’t you? Fight for your success and focus on achieving it. Organise your time, make plans and stick to them.

3. Understand that risk is part of life. Most people feel secure if they have a regular full time job. If you like being secure and can’t stand to take chances, this is not for you. No business and no investment is 100% secure. We are dealing with probabilities and not certainties. You should learn how to make high probability decisions and stack the odds in your favour. If Warren Buffet would have been afraid to take chances, he wouldn’t be the greatest investor in the world today. This man takes his risks. Sometimes he makes a bad investment, but when he succeeds, he hits the jackpot.

4. Have a strong personality. There will be family members or friends telling you that what you are trying to do is risky and that you should stop. If you don’t have a strong personality, you will not be tough enough to resist their advice and give it a shot.

5. Think about users, not money. If you are creating products, ease of use (usability) should be your main concern. Think about the normal people that will use your product. If it’s too complex or too hard to use, they probably won’t bother.

Understanding Leadership Styles: Which One Are You?

Between books, articles and other media there is more information on leadership available to the average person than could ever be accessed by one person in their lifetime. There have been pointers, styles, rules and biographies of inspiring readers written about through the centuries. However, there are specific leadership ideas that we ourselves fail to realize and recognize in the course of reading all this material that is available.

1. Every leader is a different type of leader. The fact is that you will probably encounter leaders of all different types throughout your lifetime.

There are formal leaders like the ones we elect to political office, and informal leaders like the ones we look up to because they have a lot of wisdom and experience. Both informal and formal leaders practice a mixture of leadership styles.

A few examples of different leadership styles are:

a. Lewin’s three basic leadership styles. Participative, authoritative, and delegative.

b. Goleman’s six emotional leadership styles. Coaching, visionary, affiliative, pacesetting, commanding and democratic.

c. Likert’s four leadership styles. Benevolent authoritative, consultative, participative, and exploitive authoritative.

2. No one is born a leader, leadership is a process.

Althought some people seem to be born with leadership qualities that are innate, without the correct environment and exposure, it is possible they will not develop their full potential. It’s kind of like learning how to drive a car, you can also learn how to be a good leader, and hone your abilities. Also, you can gain knowledge and leadership skills by enrolling in leadership seminars, conferences, and workshops. In addition the interactions that you have daily with people can provide opportunities to practice and observe different leadership styles. Put together formal and informal training can help you to gain leadership attitudes, insights, and further your cycle of learning. It is not possible to become a leader in one day and then just stop. Being a leader is about lifelong learning, and each day brings new experiences and opportunities to put your skills, knowledge, and attitude to the test.

3. Being a good leader starts with you.

By far the best way to develop leadership qualities in yourself is to apply these qualiities to your own life. As the old saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.” Good leaders are always at the forefront of what is going on. One thing to keep in mind is that your credibility as a leader depends on your actions; your interaction with your friends, family, and co-workers. The way that you manage your personal and organizational responsibilites, and even the way in which you talk with an acquaintance. When you repeat good leadership actions, they become good habits. These kinds of leadership habits form your character.

4. You share leadership.

Even though there are some who feel that leadership is a one person thing, this is not true. Leadership isn’t the sole responsbility of one individual, but instead a shared responsibility among members of your emerging team. Leaders belong to groups, and good leaders know this. Each and every member has their own set of responsibilities to complete. Every formal leadership position is merely someone with some added responsibility aside from their normal responsibilities as members of their team. Effective leadership means that all members do their share of the work. Starting out as a group of individuals, both the members and leaders work together to have an effective team. Leaders that understand this, also understand that social interaction plays a huge role in leadership. Learning how to work well together with other team members as a team requires a lot of trust between and among the leaders and team members of any emerging team. Trust is built on the actions of team members, and not only on words. When there is mutual respect between team members and leaders then trust is created and confidence is built.

5. Leadership styles are dependent on the situation.

There is no single rule that states only one style of leadership is the best and is the only one that should be used. In most cases leaders use a mixture of styles to get the job done depending upon whatever the situation is. When staffs are very motivated and competent, then a mixture of high delegative and moderate participative styles of leadership are best. However, if staffs have low commitment and low competence, sometimes a mixture of high coaching, supporting, and high directing types of behavior work better.

Developing Leadership As Supervisor

In our quest for measuring ways to develop leadership skills for supervisors; it is imperative that these skills must be defined in every supervisory position. Most companies nowadays, want to know how effective and efficient their leadership can be. Investors, executives, boards of directors and customers are always in the lookout of how well the management and operations of a sound company can perform.

The process of measuring leadership skills starts when the organization’s objectives are defined. Every organization has clearly defined goals in order for it to grow. Policies and procedures are established so the organization can properly function. Training is developed to ensure quality and high standards. Evaluations procedures are developed within the boundaries of training and performance; making these procedures indispensible to achieve high standards.

Leadership skills are not the exception. There are programs in place to ensure leaders are measured within the boundaries of training and performance as well. The process of measuring the leadership skills starts with a set of expectations from the organizations. It is followed by the objectives the leader wants to accomplish within the organization. Finally, the leadership develops a strategy to then execute for a period of time.

The cycle of developing, training, executing, and evaluating it’s an evolving process. Each stage is a layer that goes on top of another one. This evolving process can be stationary grow or progressive grow. The future of the organization whether stationary or progressive depends upon a well developed leadership skills and well defined company’s objectives.

Either way, whether the evolving process is stationary or progressive, leadership skills are depicted and measured to accomplish organization’s objectives. They are framed into guidance embedded into training methods that are developed to ensure proper execution. Lastly, leadership skills are used in the evaluation process to conduct methods of measurement to confirm growth and development for the company. Why is this important for every higher executive and even customer? Simple, no one wants to work with a looser. And customers want to make business with people they can trust. Therefore, creating and cultivating ways to produce a program of measuring leadership skills for supervisors it is vital in any organization.

Motivating Your Team At Work

With the economy in a constant state of flux, there are many businesses that have had to continue to lay off employees. Unfortunately, the work that would have been done by these employees is now transferred to the remaining employees. This translates to more work, and of course, more problems. It is important to the effectiveness of the employees that members of management take certain steps to ensure that employees maintain a high level of success.

Coaching is the way to go. As the name suggests, you are providing the motivation that your employees need. Most teams have members that varying in terms of their knowledge and experience. As a coach, your job is to make sure that each person’s full potential comes out, and that there are certain tasks assigned that are appropriate to each employees’ skill level.

By stepping up and proving your coaching abilities, you are setting an example for other people. Your leadership skills will rub off on the employees. In turn, they can make efforts to provide additional leadership and motivation to each other. They can each learn to help one another, and provide each other with the confidence that is necessary to getting things done.

Don’t get power hungry. It is important for you to understand that although you have a higher level of power, you should not let it go to your head and lose control. You need to remember that being too bossy is counter-productive. Not only will you lose the respect of your team, but you may put your own job on the line because this type of behavior is usually unacceptable.

If you have a problem with a particular employee, don’t call them out in front of other employees. Also, do not insult them by questioning their intelligence. Just because something went wrong does not necessarily mean the person is a complete idiot, and you don’t need to make them feel as though they are. You should discuss the problem and what went wrong, as well as solutions and methods to prevent it from happening again in the future. A great coach will give the employee at fault the opportunity to make it right again. The only exception to this rule, of course, is if the person has a well-known habit for making big mistakes. In this case, it may be the time to send them on their way because you don’t want that kind of problems to interfere with your good coaching skills.

Tips For Managing Relationships With New Peers

Building and managing relationships with new peers isn’t always easy. Peers are defined as those who are working at basically the same level and have no official authority over one another. The following are ways to build successful relationships with new peers in a working environment.

1. Plan Together
We hear the phrase he or she isn’t a team player so much it’s almost a cliche. Working and planning together toward shared goals, however, is critical to building successful working relationships with peers. If bringing in a larger customer base is crucial to you and your peers, work together to implement a plan to reach this goal. Recognizing, planning, and reaching shared goals are critical when working successfully with new peers.

2. Trust One Another
Trust is critical to any relationship, whether it’s personal or professional. There are several ways in which coworkers can build mutual trust. Go directly to a new peer if there is an issue that involves this person. Playing office politics and going behind another person’s back is a sure way to quickly damage relationships. Resolve any conflicts as quickly as possible while remaining professional at all times. It’s extremely important to meet all obligations and make yourself available to your peers as much as possible.

3. Take Responsibility
Taking responsibility means learning from every project and venture whether it’s been successful or not. Be honest about what has happened if goals don’t come through as planned. Work together to find out what worked and what didn’t. This will enable you to work together to figure out how to do things differently the next time. This also means not blaming one another when a project or a deal falls through. Blaming a peer is a quick way to build resentment that can linger long after you’re on to the next project.

4. Collaborate Together
This means taking time to meet together on a regular basis. Collaboration means not always getting your way while trying to understand the other person’s vision. Being able to negotiate, and negotiate fairly, is crucial to meaningful collaboration. Make sure everyone’s role is clearly understood during the collaboration process. This means being detailed oriented. Exactly who is supposed to do what and when it is to be done must be clearly articulated and understood. Make sure to celebrate each positive accomplishment that is achieved through effective teamwork. This will reinforce working together and promote an appreciation of positive collaboration.

5. Get to Know One Another
While forming friendships that go beyond a work environment can present challenges, the rewards are usually worth the risk. We spend 40 hours or more each week with our coworkers. Building a quality working relationship means going beyond a superficial understanding of one another. If a coworker is going through a difficult family issue, his or her work at the office will sometimes suffer. Getting to know your peers beyond the office will enable you to lend support when needed. This type of relationship will build respect and understanding among coworkers.

Following these five steps will help build strong relationships with new peers. When coworkers successfully strive for and reach goals together it not only benefits the company, but enables each individual to more effectively reach his or her personal goals. In other words, what is good for the team is good for the individual as well.

3 Tips For Hitting Your Goals & Objectives

When you have something that needs to get done, it is important that you have a goal or objective that you are working toward. Not having a clear idea of what you’re working for can hinder you from reaching want you want. When you have established a goal or an objective, it is even more important that you actually hit it. There are many things you can do to reach your goals, but the three most important things you can do are to stay organized, plan your time in advance and maintain a to do list. Following these three steps will set you up for completely achieving the goals or the particular objectives that you want to hit.

Stay Organized
When you do nearly anything in life, it is important that you stay organized. Staying organized will allow you to have a clear idea of what is going on in your life and it will keep you feeling calm and relaxed. It is a proven fact that organization can help your life become better. When you are working toward a goal, make sure that you stay organized at all times to help you reach the goal. Staying organized will give you an idea of where you are at in relation to where you need to be. It will also help you realize what else you need to do to hit your goals and will give you an idea of how far you have come in the journey toward your goal.

Plan Your Time in Advance
If you want to reach your goal in a certain amount of time like most people do, you should consider planning your time in advance. You can have a clear idea of where you want to be at certain points in time. This will give you a point for creating smaller goals that are easier and quicker to hit. Make sure that you plan your time in an organized way so that you will be able to stay organized while you are working toward your goal. Planning your time is one surefire way to make the journey toward your goal seem faster.

Maintain An Action or To Do List
How good does it feel when you are able to cross something that you have done off of a list? It gives you a sense of accomplishment and it allows you the opportunity to be successful through the use of little steps. Make sure that your to do list is filled with things that you will be able to accomplish somewhat easily. It is a good idea to make these lists ahead of time and have a clear idea of when you want to complete each section. Creating a to do list is one thing that many successful people do and you can take this as a key from them when you are trying to reach a specific goal or objective. It is also a way that you can see everything you have done and it will help keep you motivated.

If you are trying to accomplish any type of goal or objective, it is important that you have certain goals and objectives for accomplishing it. Make sure that you know what your particular goal is and you have a good idea of how you are going to get to the goal. Choose goals that are a challenge, but also choose ones that are realistic for you to hit. Make sure that you stay organized, you budget and plan your time wisely and that you always have a to do list.