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Empowerment is often misunderstood by most leaders. Some people think that delegating responsibility is empowerment. In reality, that is not true. When an employee feels empowered there are four things that must fall into place. Those four things are, self-determination, meaning, competence, and impact. (Warrick, 2016, 6.5).  Empowering employees is extremely important when it comes down to leadership. Leaders must be willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that the employees feel empowered and are willing to work for the organization and for the leader. The employee must understand that their work is important and must believe that what they’re doing has a purpose. Also, they need to have the skills in order to succeed at what they are doing whether that is computer work or administration work. Lastly, they must be able to see that their work makes an impact. Without having an impact, they might lose meaning to what they were trying to accomplish. A leader should be able to tell when one is just delegating their work onto their employees and being able to empower the employee to make the decision to work harder and get more work done. When I first started with my organization, I was empowered to become a manager. I came into the organization, thinking about my current role as just a job. After having several discussions with my leader at the time, she was able to make me think about it as a career. I have been with the organization for over 5 years now and enjoy my work every single day. As a prime example of being empowered, it can really change the employee's life and help guide them for the better. I will never forget that leader and what they did for me. 

Warrick, D.D. (2016). Leadership: A high impact approach [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/



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In addition to preparing leaders to empower their subordinates and facilitating a culture that supports more autonomy, empowerment is “equipping people with the knowledge, skills, and authority necessary to be empowered; and [..] delegating leadership and decision making to the lowest level possible.” (Warrick, 2016, sec. 6). In the modern workforce, leaders are moving towards empowerment more often as the approach to get things done and to provide employees with growth opportunities. Not only does empowerment help managers do more with less, but it also adds value to an employee’s experience because they feel like their work is meaningful, and they are recognized for their contributions. As transformational leaders, managers inspire employees to buy into their vision through charisma and energy. As long as employees are trained appropriately, and they have the tools to do their job, a transformational leader would focus on influencing employees through the development of relationships. Transactional leaders focus on motivating employees through rewards and consequences to perpetuate the desired behaviors. Rewards can be monetary or non-monetary actions such as increased responsibility, recognition, paid time off, etc. Negative reinforcements would be corrective actions that could be monetary, or other actions such as negative impacts on scorecards, separation of employment, etc. In the organization that I work for, I have seen many leaders and most often there is a balance between transformational and transactional leadership that must be towed depending on the team and it's dynamic. The empowerment approach is what both leadership styles have in common. It is the path forward in current leadership practices and its side effects are improved employee satisfaction, loyalty, and increased performance when done effectively.


Reference:

Warrick, D.D. (2016). Leadership: A high impact approach [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/

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