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How can organizations empower their employees and teams to flourish?

How can organizations empower their employees and teams to flourish?

To empower means to enable. Enabling implies motivating through enhancing an employee’s conviction of their personal efficacy. Research has shown that personal efficacy stems from inner need-states such as the intrinsic needs for self-determination, competence, power and self-actualization. The highest form of expression in the self-actualization process is - according to Maslow and a growing body of scholars that followed him*- characterized by such terms as selfless, devoted, working at a calling and embodying “being-values”.

The question then becomes



How can leaders ultimately tap into their employees’ individuated expression of self- actualization and allow its highest manifestation within a collective environment?

By being supportive and cultivating a safe relational context.

A leader who strives for their employees to flourish, their teams to thrive and their business to prosper should (a) have the openness to understand and value each team member’s/employee’s mindset and their individual meaning-making (b) provide encouragement for free thinking and free expression and (c) create a culture of trust; a collaborative dynamic field where the potential of each member is nurtured.

A foundational building block in this process of building trust is appreciation. Are employees judged by their success to gain desired outcomes or are they recognized for their performance? In the first case, organizational interventions focus on boosting employees’ self-confidence through developing abilities they possess and which are useful for the job they do.(i.e. various skills). In the second case, organizational interventions aim at strengthening employees’ self-esteem (i.e. their self worth which is independent of outer judgement). Self-esteem is built on their innate qualities of being human; such as self-love, connection through care and respect , positive life outlook. In the second case, the intervention is deeper and lasting as it fortifies the qualities of being human. Development of self-confidence -which is more job specific- is then easy to follow with learning and skills training.

The question then becomes



How does such a process of transformation in the team and/or organizational level look like?

Any process -in order for it to be lasting and impactful- will have to start at the individual level . One cannot lead the others if one cannot lead oneself; or else said, how can we expect a leader to encourage their employees’ free expression when they are conditioned themselves ?

A leader who self-leads in a healthy and balanced way knows that leadership is much more than developing skills and competencies (effectiveness) or accomplishing what one is expected to do (efficiency). It is about allowing and fostering/nurturing one to become the best they can be.



Do you want to find out more? Contact me

I work in partnership with my clients to co-design and customize the appropriate interventions to their specific needs; be it consulting, coaching, training or whole process facilitation.



Examples in the literature

  • Fagley, N. S., and M. G. Adler.(2012). Appreciation: A spiritual path to finding value and meaning in the workplace. Journal of management, spirituality & religion 9(2),167-187.

  • Frankl, V. (1966).“Self-Transcendence as a Human Phenomenon." Journal of Humanistic Psychology.

  • Fry., L. (2003)“Toward a Theory of Spiritual Leadership.” The Leadership Quarterly. 14 (2003): 693-727.

  • Maslow, A.H. (1 97 1). The Farther Reaches of HumanNature. New York: Viking Press.

Eleftheria EgelComment