My coworkers say that they’ve “got my back”. I’m not sure if that means they support me, or that they’ve “got my back” to push or throw me under the bus, or make it easier to point the finger at me if things don’t work out. This is not an empowering culture.
So, how do you create an empowerment culture?
It takes consistent effort to create an empowerment culture. No matter what your position or title, there are things you can say, and things you can do, to support the creation of a work environment that is empowering.
Here are some ideas.
Demonstrate your appreciation for each other’s unique personal and professional value. In your words and actions, be kind when people make mistakes, and be helpful in assisting them with getting back on track.
Invite coworkers in on the planning of tasks and activities, ask for their input, and consider their suggestions. They have probably noticed over the years, a few ways things could be improved.
Engage in conversations about the organization’s mission statements, value statements, and codes of conduct. Openly discuss whether these are just slogans or important guidelines to be considered when setting goals and measuring results.
Trust that your coworkers’ intentions are good. Communication is a two-way street, if we have questions about expectations, we should be free to ask, without ridicule or humiliation. It is more important to get the communication clear and the job done well, rather than waste energy worrying and wondering what to do.
Share whatever information is available so coworkers can make thoughtful decisions and have successful outcomes.
Finally, recognize others’ hard work, attention to quality, and team spirit.
Creating an empowering culture takes time, but it is worth every minute. Clear and measurable targets, active listening and involvement, collaboration and cooperation, sounds pretty empowering to me.