Empowering Leadership – why are we so poor at it in the UK?

The UK lags behind our European counterparts when it comes to empowering the workforce and fostering innovation and change.

Whilst 63% of French employees and 57% of Spanish employees feel empowered to lead innovation and drive change, less than half (47%) of employees surveyed across the UK agree, revealed the research commissioned by BMC in 2016 and conducted by UK business insights agency, Opinion Life.

In turn, this appears to be impacting morale, as just 54% of employees in the UK said they feel inspired in the workplace compared to 74% in Spain, 73% in France and 66% in Germany.

Why is this?

A number of factors appear to account for the low percentage of employees feeling empowered:

  • Managers not wanting to ‘let go’

The dictionary definition of ‘Empowerment’ means authority or power give to someone to do something’.  The research found that a number of managers do not wish to ‘let go’ of task management and control, if they are involved in the operational day to day aspects of work

  • Lack of Trust

Following on from the previous point, when managers are so busy focusing on the day to day activities of operations, they are unlikely to spend time coaching and developing employees which would create trust and foster creativity.  I have  trained and coached many managers during my 25 years as a leadership development facilitator and mindset coach, who have said ‘it’s easier and quicker to do it myself’.  I have also heard ‘If I give them autonomy, they may be better than me, and I might find myself out of a job!!’

I know it is incredulous to think these thoughts still exist in management today, but they really do.

  • Insufficient training in coaching and development

There are many examples of employees being hired for management roles because they were brilliant in the technical aspects of their role.  So, the next natural step is Management!  Even better, let them learn on the job without any training or coaching!  People Management is so different than being an individual contributor.  It is a whole skill set in its own right and our managers need to be taught how to lead and get the best out of individuals and the team.

What Empowered employees can do for a business

  • Increases productivity – when employees feel empowered to make decisions, productivity is increased. No more waiting to have to see the boss, to make a decision.  More work gets done
  • Develop a Coaching Culture – When managers move from a ‘tell’ style to ‘ask’, it encourages coaching and feedback. Allowing employees to identify solutions creates a dopamine response in the brain which creates a ‘flow’ state.  When employees are in ‘Flow’, creativity and innovation occurs.
  • Retain top talent – The best way to retain top talent is to empower them to reach their potential. This is achieved by regular feedback and coaching and letting them get on with the job of achieving goals. In turn, this will manifest higher business results.

Want to develop your managers so they can empower your employees?   Then click  here to know more about ‘The Empowering Leader Programme’.  Contact kim@mindset4success.co.uk or phone 07989 199718 to discuss further.