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High Performance: Empowerment leads to development

May 15, 2019 -  By


According to the Gallup organization, lack of development is the number one reason people leave a company. This should come as no surprise because we all want to learn and grow. This is a basic human desire. You have it and so do I. Why would anyone want to work in a position or for a company that didn’t allow for such an important need to be met?

I believe that managers really do want to develop their people. In fact, they want their people to step up, be more responsible, take on more of an owner’s mentality, etc. So where is the disconnect? If employers want their people to step up and we all want to learn and grow, why is it so difficult to make it happen?

One reason might be that some managers have a difficult time letting go. Maybe they’ve been let down in the past. Or they are paranoid about giving up control. Or they have trust issues. In any case, they continue to hold all of the cards and don’t allow their people in the game. The employee is shut out and left to feel hopeless about a future with the company.

What I’m referring to here is empowerment. Remember the first time your parents let you have the keys to the car without them riding along? It’s the most amazing feeling in the world. It’s a feeling of being allowed to have some freedom. It’s a feeling of being trusted, even if you really haven’t earned it. It’s a feeling of having some control that was previously someone else’s domain. That is what I’m talking about.

Empowerment is possible in even the smallest of ways. Instead of making a decision unilaterally, a manager may ask for input first or let his or her subordinate make the call. Instead of giving someone responsibility for completing a task and then hovering over them or second-guessing them, a manager may let his or her subordinate complete the task in their own way. Instead of sitting back and passively waiting for his or her subordinate to “step up,” a manager may intentionally transfer accountability for certain tasks or decisions.

The bottom line is this. Managers who empower their people are more likely to have engaged, satisfied and long-term employees. Managers who can’t let go will drive their good people out the door. What type of manager do you want to be?

As spring approaches, we have many things to attend to (equipment prep, recruiting, sales, etc.). Let’s also make sure that our people are being developed. Empowerment is an easy place to start.

Now go forth.

This article is tagged with and posted in Blog, Expert Insights

About the Author:

Phil Harwood is a Senior Advisor with Tamarisk Business Advisors. Contact him at

1 Comment on "High Performance: Empowerment leads to development"

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  1. Bayon Pools says:

    Empowering employees is a great way at getting quality work and keeping a high staff retention.