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By Donna Bennett, consultant, and Jeff Stafford, consultant
Organizations are changing at a whirlwind pace as globalization, technology, partnerships, mergers, and economic factors drive the need to keep up. This all filters down to the workforce, and the ways we manage and are managed. There is less time for autocratic, micromanaged workplaces and more emphasis on self-responsibility.
Jennifer James, university professor and author of Thinking In The Future says, “Many specialists now preach the gospel of worker empowerment. It is a rejection of the corporate hierarchy and paternalism of the past—and for good reason: empowerment increases energy. When workers are permitted to invest their energies in a personal process of learning and discovery while on the job, the increase in productivity, quality, and efficiency is phenomenal.”
When managers and employees work together to create a respectful, self-motivating environment, there is potential for better results for both the department and the larger organization. Managers and supervisors have high demands on their time. Influencing self-responsibility in their employees can benefit the manager’s workday. This style of management/supervision can create an environment for building trust with long-term benefits towards achieving goals.
What can managers and employees do to facilitate an environment of self-responsibility? Following are some tips to help you get started:
Managers and employees alike can try the formula below as cited in “Case Studies with Established Learning Cultures” by Johnston & Hawke (2002).
Event (E) plus Response (R) = Outcomes (O). With this equation in mind, empowerment takes over where blame and a victim mentality may have been present. Empowerment occurs when there are options. You may not be able to change E, but you can change R and ultimately change O. When you recognize you’re not stuck, you can begin to take control of the potential outcomes you would like to achieve.
Individuals who use this formula start to see things differently and, as a result, start to experience things differently. Language changes from “should,” “must,” “got to,” to “get to.” This is a true indicator that you are practicing 100% responsibility. Give it a try over the next few weeks. Be conscious, take note – where can you take even just 10% more responsibility for your actions?