By Kirsten Blakemore Edwards (@KirstenBeMe), MA CPCC, Executive Facilitator with Partners In Leadership
If you're not satisfied with your job, could it be that you don't feel empowered to make decisions--and not just any decisions, but ones that impact the company's key initiatives? Managers, of course, wish employees took initiative. Unfortunately, not all provide the mentorship and resources that employees need in order to take ownership over their successes, and ultimately, their happiness.
When you feel powerless or stagnant, here are three things you can do to get unstuck--and increase your confidence, productivity, and satisfaction at work:
1. Ask for clarity
The first step to feeling empowered is figuring out where you're headed; but too often leaders do not define or communicate clear direction or expectations. Our survey on accountability in the workplace found that 85% of employees aren't even sure what their company's overarching goals are. If you're one of these employees, ask for clarity. Taking initiative to understand how your organization defines success can provide the boost you need to cross the finish line.
2. Seek a mentor
A mentor acts as a guide, helping you find your purpose, meaning, and professional and personal satisfaction. However, mentors are not always managers--and vice versa. If you need more support, seek a mentor within your organization to help you stay aligned with the company's overall vision while helping you to fulfill your own professional ambitions. If you can't find a mentor inside your company, find a coach outside of your organization. Ask for help to develop a small set of specific, achievable goals for the year ahead. This is how you can stay focused on what's most important, which includes your own development.
3. Solicit feedback
The best way to improve your skills and grow professionally is to seek feedback--all the time and from as many different perspectives as you can get. Yet 80% of respondents to our survey reported that they only receive feedback when they make a mistake or perform poorly. This kind of punitive feedback can be hurtful, creating a cloud of shame that can cause you to feel even more stuck. To grow, what you really need is feedback that pinpoints what you're doing well and constructive feedback that guides you to do things better. If you're not getting this regularly, reach out to your colleagues for insights. Remember, feedback should leave you feeling energized and empowered to move forward in your career.
Gaining Empowerment through Accountability
After feeling more empowered in the workplace, you can work more effectively towards companywide goals while also fulfilling your own professional needs. This is a win-win for you and your organization: it ensures company success--and boosts morale.
While personal empowerment is one thing, no employee or team can reach their full potential without a workplace environment built on accountability. Every member of the team must have a clear understanding of the company's Key Results, actively seek feedback, and collaborate across teams to achieve objectives.
For more on how to feel more empowered at work, check out our webinar Stronger Than You Believe.