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Ten Steps for Implementing Empowered Leadership
by Kim Olver

Empowered Leadership is based on the work of W. Edwards Deming and William Glasser. It is a way of managing people to ensure the best quality product or service while taking good care of the human capital providing that product or service. These are the ten steps to doing so:

1. Create a work environment that is physically, emotionally and spiritually safe for employees. Eliminate discrimination and oppression. Discourage gossip and foster an environment of safe risk-taking.

2. Help employees to feel connected to the mission and vision of the agency, to their teammates, to you as their supervisor and to administration. Communicate the vision and mission often and each employee's role in it. Care about each individual employee and make sure they know you do. Foster cooperative teamwork. Help administration see the positives of your employees.

3. Ensure your employees feel cared about--that their lives matter, not just their work output. Notice when something is off and ask about it, leaving room for the employee to keep it to him or herself if he or she chooses to do so. Provide flexibility with work/life balance. Lack of appreciation is the main reason employees give for leaving their jobs. It's not money.

4. Listen to employees' ideas and implement those that are possible and make sense. Let your people know you value and respect their opinions and input. Decrease complaints by requiring each complaint be accompanied by at least three possible, reasonable solutions. Respect your employees as integral, contributing workers in your company. Communicate your employee's importance, value and worth on a regular basis.

5. Allow your employees as much freedom as they can responsibly manage. You will give less to new employees and more to seasoned workers with a proven track record. Fight the urge to micromanage. Let your workers know what you want and allow to determine how they will provide it to you.

6. Provide your employees with choices. Allowing workers at least three options will increase cooperation. People do not like feeling there is no choice in a situation. It generally breeds anger and frustration.

7. Create opportunities for employees to have fun at work. Do not discourage play-making at work unless it becomes excessive. A little fun can make the day go faster, relieve stress and consequently, improve the output of each individual employee.

8. Ensure your employees have valuable and useful training so they can not only perform their jobs but also be promotion-ready. Not having useful training is one of the main reasons employees give for leaving their jobs.

9. Communicate the usefulness and purpose of what you are asking your employees to do. They must understand how their tasks will benefit themselves and the company. People who are asked to do things they don't perceive as useful or things they don't understand won't do their best work.

10. Ask your employees to evaluate and constantly improve the quality of their work. Work together with your employees to develop production standards for quality. Ask your workers to evaluate their work against the standard and constantly look for ways to improve what they and the company does.

When you implement these Ten Steps in your workplace with the team you supervise, you will be amazed at the results. You will be providing the balance needed between the quality of the product or the service and the people who produce it. Striking this balance will allow you to get the most out of every employee you supervise.

Kim Olver may be contacted at

Learn more about Empowered Leadership.

Kim Olver is a life and relationship coach. Her mission is to help people get along better with the important people in their lives, including themselves. She teaches people how to live from the inside out by empowering them to focus on the things they can change. She in an internationally recognized speaker, having worked in Australia, Europe and Africa, as well as all over the United States and Canada. She is the creator of the new, revolutionary process called, Inside Out Empowerment based on Dr. William Glasser's Choice Theory. She is a public speaker and provides workshops in the areas of relationships, parenting, and a variety of self-growth topics. She is the author of Leveraging Diversity at Work and the forthcoming book, Secrets of Successful Relationships. She co-authored a book with Ken Blanchard, Les Brown, Mark Victor Hansen and Byron Katie, entitled 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. She works with individuals, couples, parents, social service agencies, schools, corporations and the military--anyone who will benefit from gaining more effective control over their lives. She has consulted on relationships, parenting, self-development, training, leadership development, diversity, treatment programs and management styles.


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