Improving Performance through Empowerment, Teamwork & Communication
The staff of all public sector and private sector companies and other organizations is being compelled to improve and maximize their performances at work to keep up with the commercial pressures that are now building up. This requires that they change their work culture, and for the organization to invest in infrastructure. This has compelled many organizations to invest in new technology, equipment and buildings - which can even be seen in some instances. The complimentary need for investment in people and in the management of their performance has however not received the same amount of attention. Without this relevant and effective staff management, the organizations will not be able to achieve the required commercial success. The public service targets, which have been decided for them, will also not be met and a high opportunity cost will have to be met later.
The most common objective of management is often to control production methods to minimize the chance of employees making "mistakes." However, these controls make the employees lose all initiative, stop them from learning new things, and stop them from innovating. Empowerment of the employees on the other hand will lead to better performance, reduce employee turnover, and increase productivity. This has been noticed when some companies involved their people and gave more control and responsibility. "In the developed industry for food retailing (companies that ACME depend on) the annual sales growth increased by 15 to 26%, and the sales per store increased by 10%. The number of stores increased by nearly 100% and over eight years, the sales growth was as high as 500%." (Blanchard; Carlos; and Randolph, 1999)
To give the workers empowerment the organization structure has to be radically changed. The employees must get the power to bend and break the rules. They may sometimes create mistakes, but if that results in a happy customer, the company should be willing to take that risk. The process of empowerment will stop managers from telling workers how to solve their problems and concentrate instead on the long-term growth and development of the organization. The managers will also learn how to develop the employees through projects that will improve the skills of employees and overcome areas of weakness. In this process it is important to make the employees take responsibility and decide. It is also important for the employees to be in touch with their internal and external customers.
Employees work better when they care about the result and are able to influence on the course of their work. Authority and responsibility to make relevant decisions should be given to the workers. All workers should be trained so that they can reach the standards of excellence that have been set for them can be achieved. For this they should also know their own performance as per the evaluations conducted by the management. "Workers who achieve the set standards of performance should be recognized. They should be trusted, and treated with dignity and respect." (Bob, 1997) The managers talking about their own visions of empowerment should not begin the process of empowerment, but by sharing with the workers whatever information they have about the business. Information sharing will build the necessary trust among employees. The management by answering questions and concerns of the employees will help the process of change and finally, the employees will be able to make good business decisions.
The territory for taking decisions or taking leadership must be clarified to the staff for them to feel empowered. The process of working together of the managers and the staff to set clear boundaries, the staff feels free to flourish within the limits set for them. These boundaries should be elastic enough to stretch to the degree of autonomy of the employee or the team. When an employee begins to feel frustrated or discouraged, it is a clear sign that the boundaries must be expanded. Employee empowerment needs support from both the employees and the management. The employees must be ready to act, and the management must feel that empowerment makes good business sense. Empowerment does not remove from the management the responsibility for the final performance or leading the organization.
Organizations all around the world are developing and transforming because of frequent progress in technology, the abundant increase of knowledge and information, social diversity and globalization. Unlike, earlier days organizations cannot just depend on a few members of their team to hold a key position in this fast and competitive world. Traditional hierarchy has been completely wiped out of organizations. For prosperity in the 21st century, collective knowledge and abundance of diverse viewpoints are needed. While organizations were struggling with the current structure, a new one that is based on teamwork was being formed. The sparks between the individuals coming up with the ideas and the ones in the actual production need to collaborate for increased production and more innovative products and services. The companies now are looking out for ways to engender these sparks among individuals involved in the actual production and the ones drawing ideas for them.
Teamwork is being emphasized on and it is believed that it is this teamwork that is making the sail of the organization into the future more prosperous and smooth. When in a team we learn faster and can perform better and even implement changes if the need calls for it, basically teams are more flexible then traditional hierarchal configuration. Thus in order to be able to make this teamwork successful it is essential that that a lot of changes be instigated in the organization which would obviously affect the human resource. Organizations all over the United States are concerned because of the dwindling revenue and reduction in corporate budgets because of which they have to cut down on their staff and manage to do a lot of work with the few employees that they can afford.
In such situations it is essential that the companies at such times, in order to increase the level of, fabricate new problem solving techniques and better decision-making strategies. The two new trends in such situations are teamwork and collaboration.
Richard Farson and Ralph Keyes are of the view that supervisors who are efficient make a project team to have a continuous animated discussion with regard to what they are learning. "They try to break down the social and bureaucratic barriers that separate them from their followers. They engage at a personal level with the people they lead. They avoid giving either praise or criticism, preferring to take a nonjudgmental, analytic posture as they interact with staff. They openly admit their own mistakes rather than covering them up or shifting the blame." (Harvard Business Review, August 2002)
Since most organizations now have the need for people who are good at various disciplines, the multiple specialists, multidisciplinary teams have been come up with members who serve the purpose. These Multidisciplinary teams are like individuals where each of these teams has individuals with different talents, which are applicable in various decision-making procedures that have multitudes of communication strands and implementation of various techniques for problem solving and new methods for solving conflicts, along with benefits like improved leadership, multicultural team work and taking part politics in the company. Looking at the concept from a utopian point-of-view, it comes to our realization that these teams are basically formed so that we have a group of people who are good at various fields. But looking at it from the perspective of the real world, the amount of productivity, the success or the failure of the teams and their level of competence vary much dependence on the team itself. "Most managers even today do not delegate much of their work to their subordinates because of the fear that either they may be outwitted or just because they feel that they are more competent of themselves because of their superior knowledge, experience or ability." (Maddux, 1992).
It is essential that managers understand that just by delegating work to a group of subordinates they are not forming a team. Proper and efficient training is needed for the employees along with tools to be able to function as members of a team. They require the guarantee that they can rely on their teammates to do their job well. Along with that it is also essential that these members find that their superiors also have similar morals. At times it may be essential that the managers of organizations be given extra training to be able to function as good leaders and to be able to serve as role models for the organization. The atmosphere in an organization should promote collaboration instead of developing rivalry. The teams should set up goals and put in a joint effort to reach these goals and also behave cordially towards all its members for the ultimate success of the organization. "When resources of the team are focused and when all the members of the teamwork together towards a common goal…