Empowerment

The purpose of this discussion is to put some personal and professional meaning on the project quality management process. We start the process of change and empowerment ourselves, through our mental models, personal decisions, and choices that we make in the daily routine of the work place. While the employer and the organization can open up opportunities, the individual must take advantage of those opportunities for anything to happen. We must want to be empowered to be empowered, and we must seek out opportunities to grow and develop. We must draw the boundaries of our own jobs wide enough to allow creative uses of the new talents and competencies we acquire across larger and larger parts of the system.

But how should we "play" in such a world, one that, on the one hand, holds out so many opportunities for growth and empowerment in meeting customer needs, but on the other seems so determined to place accountability for failure at the level of the individual. What if the organization does not support empowerment and does not have the infrastructure to help widen the boundaries of a job?

Each individual member of the team is responsible for his or her specific change management strategy. Nothing will change unless there is awareness and understanding of one's potential in the context of quality and the curiosity and drive to listen to the customer. The organization and its leadership can help this happen through providing self-assessment tools and techniques, and through communicating with and empowering each employee, but the organization cannot totally make it happen. It requires the commitment of each working person, regardless of role or level in the organization. In effect, the focus on employee participation and involvement has never been clearer; those who take advantage of it will grow personally and professionally, and participate directly in making the organization more competitive both domestically and globally. Those who do not may find themselves regretful later—perhaps in different times with less stress on empowerment and self-development—that they did not take up the challenge when it was available.

Self-assessment starts with an attitude, one that welcomes feedback from several sources inside and outside the organization. The employee should be able to place that feedback into productive learning and growth. Because the whole process of looking at one's self through others' eyes raises questions of competency and comparison, it is not easy for team members and people in general to develop a healthy attitude about accepting feedback, especially if that feedback is negative. Women face the same challenge as men in this sense, but there will be a continuing tendency to attribute issues to women that derive from their being women instead of from their personalities per se. In other words, women need to be able to accept feedback and information in whatever form it comes, and to translate it to corrective action, if necessary, without taking it personally.

Self-assessment requires an attitude of openness. This openness evidences itself in many ways in the work place, and indicates a willingness to solicit and learn from others about your performance. Customers, peers, employees, and leaders will provide useful data if they feel the solicitation is genuine, and will welcome the opportunity to be candid. In most cases, they have harbored views of you long before you requested feedback, thus to open the conversation is often comforting for those who participate.

Here is the basic area of inquiry as one approaches the question, "How do I engage in a self-assessment process in the organization so that I can identify the best opportunities for my contribution to serving customer needs and continuous improvement?" Answers to this question can be solicited formally through questionnaires, but the richest feedback does not come from the written word. It comes from the daily interactions one has with customers and suppliers, and from the regular feedback that customers give about the "service."

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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