Empowering Your Workforce


In order to licence and empower your workforce to be the best they can be, you should have a clear direction and vision for your business, get the right people on board in the right jobs, communicate your message clearly, be willing to change and give people responsibility for their jobs.

Five tips and lessons to help you to empower your workforce:


The single, most important tip for empowering your workforce is to have everyone take full responsibility and total control of their job, for what they do and their best contribution to the company. Allow your people take risks, responsibility and decisions related to their work.

Lesson One:

In order to allow everyone take full responsibility, victim language and the ‘blame game’ must be eliminated totally. Words like “I can’t”, “I’ll try”, and “It’s not my fault”, must be replaced with a ‘can do’ attitude.



Know where the ‘big ship is going’ by having a clear vision for the company which brings clarity and focus to the company, and gives employees a sense of belonging to a promising future. Establish your long term vision coupled with your short term strategy to bring about success.

Lesson Two:

Companies without clear vision, purpose and direction flounder, waste time, money and resources. If you don’t know where you are going – as leader – your team cannot follow.



Get the right people on board. Jim Collins, in his book ‘Good to Great’ states that if you have the right people on the bus, the problem of how to motivate and manage them largely goes away.

Lesson Three:

If you have the wrong people in your company or in the wrong positions, empowerment will not work. Ask yourself the zero based question “Knowing what I now know about that person, would I still hire them?” If your answer is ‘no’ – you owe it to yourself and the company to bring closure to that relationship. If the answer is yes – you owe it to the company to empower that individual to succeed and make a valuable contribution.

Too many companies hire in haste, only to regret making wrong decisions down the road. Follow a systematic competency based recruitment plan, and when you hire the right people, don’t abandon them – develop them and empower and reward them with lots of responsibility and accountability.



Be prepared to change. Lead and manage your company through the changes necessary for future growth, results and profitability.

Lesson Four:

Far too often, companies fall into a comfort zone and don’t make the changes necessary to help them stay in control of their business. Change when you have a chance of winning or one day you may be forced to change when you have no chance of winning. Don’t get caught with your head in the sand.



Develop a system of open, honest communications. People like to be ‘kept in the know’ of what’s going on and what the strategy is for the business. People will feel more empowered, motivated and committed when there is an open line of communications between everyone. Remember, your company’s brain-power is what makes your company different – it is your unique proposition. How well you communicate your message has a big impact on the results.

Lesson Five:

Too often we find that the lines of communication are blurred – even in small companies – which leads to lack of commitment and lower performance, resulting in reduced productivity.

Finally, live a simple theory of ‘doing the right thing’ by asking on a constant basis – “What is the right thing to do in this situation?” Once you identify the ‘right action’ – have the courage to act boldly, make the decisions and take the actions necessary to empower you and your workforce.

Imelda Butler is a Director of Century Management, workplace talent and competency development expert. www.imeldabutler@localhost/cml1

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