3 requirements for empowering employees

Agile working methods will give employees and teams more responsibility. But it is rarely that simple, as at least three requirements must first be fulfilled.

In the overall euphoria of New Work, responsibility is handed over, everyone is highly motivated and then... ... nothing happens. Important decisions don’t get made or they turn out to be wrong and end up back with the boss.

The reason: the three conditions below likely were not fulfilled.

  1. Competence: This concerns what employees are able and allowed to do. Does the team/employee actually have the authority to implement and carry out decisions? Are the necessary knowledge, skills and sufficient experience available? If not, is it possible to access them? Does the person have the time and opportunity in the first place?
    In a sentence: are employees able and allowed to do what needs to be done to achieve the goal?
  2. Information: Does the team/employee have all the necessary information? Is the goal or the Definition of Done provided? Can the achievement of the goal be tracked and measured? Does the team have access to all the necessary data and information (e.g. customer reactions, developments on the market)? Do they know how their project will affect other projects or departments and where similar topics are being worked on in order to initiate an exchange and utilize synergies where possible?
    In a sentence: is there the necessary transparency?
  3. Intention: Are employees convinced their project is important and useful? Or are there doubts about the use of the desired result? Is the objective seen as unrealistic? Do they mistrust the intention behind the undertaking? The deciders need to feel obliged to the goals and values of the organization. Conflicting goals should always be avoided.
    In a sentence: is the team/employee on board?

If these three requirements are met, there will be mutual trust to assess experiences and make gradual improvements.

Dr. Stefanie Puckett