Emotion and Leadership 1

Emotion and Leadership Part 1

The area of emotion in the workplace is one that is easily overlooked by top level management. Previous to the last decade emotions in the workplace have mainly been discussed as a hindrance to good management, as a distraction to rational decision making or a by-product of interpersonal conflicts.

More recently the role of emotions in the workplace has become clear through research in the organisational psychology literature. These two articles will focus on the area of emotion in the workplace as it relates to leadership. Fostering positive relationships in the workplace is an essential element of leadership. In order to do this an awareness of the importance of emotions in developing positive relationships is essential.

Brotheridge and Lee (2008) highlight that emotions serve as ‘the context, content, process, and the result of managerial work’. Emotion is inherent to the practice of leadership and all actions of an organisation are inseparable and influenced by emotions (Crawford, 2007).

Expectations of the type, strength and variety of emotions displayed by leaders differ greatly based on number of factors. The type of organisation involved, the profession, and social norms held by peers, supervisors, followers and customers of the organisation all play a role in determining the type of emotional displays expected of managers.

Humphreys et al (2008) highlight that in comparison to service workers managers are required to display a variety of emotions including friendliness, sympathy and social-control emotions, but they also must exercise a degree of judgement and control over their emotional expressions.

It becomes clear in exploring these issues that aside from regulating their own emotions managers and leaders often have to deal with and manage the emotional behaviour of others (Ostell, 1996); in this way leaders also become emotion managers.

Amber Hanna is an Organisational Psychologist at DavittCorporatePartners – Corporate Psychologists


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Inspiring Leaders by Martyn Newman PhD., DPsych.

Inspiring Leaders – Why They Do What They Do and How Everyone Can Do It

Martyn Newman PhD., DPsych.

November 2010

Most of us agree that great leaders are those that inspire us to act and give us a sense of purpose that has little to do with any external incentive or reward. They have a remarkable ability to tap into the very personal, intrinsic motivations that drive each of us and help us reach for something better in ourselves. And we know that people who love going to work, are more creative and more productive, and they treat their colleagues, clients and customers better.

Imagine if more people inside the organization could learn to think, act and communicate like those who inspire us? Imagine if the ability to inspire others could be practiced not just by a select few, but also by the majority?

Leadership abilities, such as those described by emotional intelligence (EQ), explain what leaders do, but not why they perform. Furthermore, knowing what to do is all very well, but the big question is how to do it. In the course of working with some of the world’s best organizations over the last 12 years, the question of how to develop inspirational leaders is the most common one that I’ve faced.

In this article I’d like explain why leaders do what they do that inspires us and then describe to you a revolutionary new tool that’s just been launched for building inspired leaders — SmartCoach. This goes a long way to answering the question of how to develop a leadership culture that motivates colleagues and customers and inspires the rest of us. According to more than 20 years of research in psychology, there are at least seven common factors that contribute to creating positive behavior change.

1. Engagement: “I have a dream…”

According to leadership expert and author, Simon Sinek, most of us can explain what we do at work Some of us can also describe how we do it. Great leaders, on the other hand, can also clearly explain why they do what they do. Being clear about your aspirations and dreams, and being able to articulate the values that shape your beliefs, goes to the very heart of great leadership.

We are drawn to leaders and organizations that can communicate why they believe what they believe. True leaders are really CSOs — Chief Storytelling Officers — and the stories they tell provide the inspiration for people as well as organizations. Your job as a leader is to tell and re-tell the story of why you do what you do, and what your business is capable of achieving. Most importantly, it is about enabling people to understand the value of their contribution to the story.

In other words, the how of building leadership skills begins with telling people what they do and, more importantly, why they do it. People engagement is the single most important factor influencing the value of any leadership training. As the poet Yeats said, “Education is not about filling a bucket, but lighting a fire V’

2. Benchmarking: Self-Discovery & Self-Directed Change

Even when people are motivated to develop their EQ and leadership skills, they can often remain unclear about how to do so — until they become aware of how they measure up. There are many ways of gaining feedback on performance, but by far the most credible and compelling way is to benchmark emotional and social competencies and provide feedback using high-quality psychometric assessment tools. Comparing our skills against a well- established benchmark of peer performance clarifies where we currently stand and has the effect of engaging our internal drive to improve.

In other words, engaging intrinsic motives has a more sustainable impact on behavior than simply appealing to extrinsic, carrot-and-stick motives. To encourage development leaders need to see where they have already been successful and leverage their strengths in a personal development plan

3. Create Manageable, Measurable Goals & Share Them

Performance in training programs improves dramatically when participants set explicit goals for change. In fact, the motivating power of such goals is greatly enhanced when they are declared publicly and put in writing. In one particularly well-conducted study, participants in a leadership training program were much more likely to apply what they had learned when, following the training, their supervisors were able to remind them of their goals and had encouraged them to use their new skills.

When people are ready to commit to a program of change, setting specific goals helps create and sustain lasting motivation Even Benjamin Franklin insisted that setting daily and weekly goals was indispensable to becoming a virtuous person

Leaders who communicate a dream also need to have a plan. If communicating the dream or the vision is why people find you inspiring, then setting goals provide the ‘what to do’ that galvanizes people’s energy and gives them something practical to focus on In other words, average leaders provide their people with something to work on, but the most inspiring leaders give their people something to work towards.

4. Model the Skills

Provide people with opportunities to observe the skills they want to acquire. Modeling is a more effective learning method than simply being told about the skills because it requires greater attention and accelerates learning.

This is much more than simply ‘monkey see, monkey do’. It’s not only about copying the practical tactics and strategy that drives real change, it’s also about understanding why these behaviors work and how to practice them.

5. Practice New Skills & Provide Feedback

Providing clear models of the desired behavior, along with psychological insight, is not sufficient in itself. Repeated, deliberate practice of the targeted skills is essential.

A common mistake in EQ training is to assume that leaders can acquire these behaviors quickly by attending motivational seminars. Although these activities can certainly inspire the desire to change, real behavioral change requires practice and repetition over an extended period. Psychologists refer to this as ‘distributed practice’ (i.e. practice over time), as compared to ‘massed practice’ that takes place in a short concentrated burst. In fact, recent research has shown that learners exposed to distributed practice far outperformed those employing massed practice. And although practice may not make you perfect, it will certainly make you better.

Organizational psychologists have long known that consistent constructive feedback is the most effective way to motivate people and provide direction Records of your success help you recognise the progress you are making and create the positive momentum for continued change.

6. Provide Follow-Up Support

Research has shown that the value of learning is maintained, if not greatly enhanced, when people receive targeted coaching support from a reinforcing reference group or an individual. In other words, providing coaching and mentoring to people on the job contributes greatly to positive change.

In recent years, there has been a rapid growth in the use of one-on-one executive coaching. Various approaches to delivering executive coaching have been used. By far the most powerful programs have been those that combine seven elements: goal setting, feedback, skills practice, supervisor journaling, constant evaluation and end-results.

Cost-effective online coaching platforms that cover these seven elements can provide the critical follow-up support that is often missing in traditional leadership programs. And, psychologists have long known that such support maximizes skill transfer and prevents relapse.

However, due to the high costs associated with coaching programs they have largely been restricted to a chosen few. In response to this challenge, we recently launched an online coaching platform, SmartCoach ‘“that successfully integrates each of the seven elements described in the research into a dynamic interactive leadership program that can be delivered cost-effectively across an organization

7. Evaluate change

An important part of any leadership program is to measure an individual’s actual performance against the behaviors targeted for change. Leaders who have been involved in setting their own targets are generally more likely to make progress.

Documenting individual progress by evaluating changes in both understanding and behavior reinforces learning, charts the way forward and demonstrates return on investment. Nothing succeeds like success.


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Realise Individual Potential

Align Behaviour with Corporate Values


Martyn Newman is CEO of RocheMartin Ltd, a Strategic Business Partner of DavittCorporatePartners – Corporate Psychologists

How Self Aware Are You?

How self aware are you?

Nine tips to increase your self-awareness and manage your personal impact.

• Consider how your interpersonal approach affects your working relationships at the individual, local and global levels.

• Evaluate the first impression you make on others

• Keep track of incidents during which your intentions were misunderstood. Did your approach effect the interaction?

• Assess your relationships with people in your business. Identify those who are easily managed and those who are challenging, consider how your approach positively or negatively effects your relationships.

• Observe others who manage others’ perceptions effectively. Compare your approach with theirs.

• Take professional personality inventories to gain insight into how others see you.

• Take time to recognize your emotions and responses to people. Try to identify reasons you respond in certain ways and to recognize your moods, context factors and patterns.

• Try to articulate your driving values, especially leadership values. If you are feeling threatened, conflicted or stressed your values can provide internal guidance.

• Think about key stakeholders in your organisation and how your actions might push their buttons.

10-steps to Delivering Constructive Feedback

10-steps to Delivering Constructive Feedback

By Aoife Harrington, September 2010

Smart people see feedback as a rich source of information that can help them to recognise and celebrate their successes whilst highlighting areas that they can improve upon thus ensuring their continued success into the future. Smart organisations create a culture in which feedback is not only accepted but it is promoted, valued and both given and received in abundance.

Whether it comes in the form of a 360 degree feedback initiative, as part of an annual performance review or, informally, in the daily exchange of conversation between managers and direct reports, feedback needs to be well thought out and appropriately delivered. Not surprisingly, feedback is all in the delivery. Delivered incorrectly, feedback can lead to anger, resentment, confusion and disillusionment but if delivered correctly it can encourage people, help them to build on their strengths and realise their full potential.

From time to time, we all have to give someone else feedback on what isn’t working in terms of their behaviour or performance but whilst giving negative feedback isn’t easy, it doesn’t have to be unpleasant for either the giver or the receiver. By following these 10 steps, you can make the situation more manageable, palatable – and even beneficial – for everyone involved.

10-steps to Delivering Constructive Feedback

1. Tell the person, in advance, that you would like to give them some feedback on their performance – ask them would that be ok. Give them the rationale for providing the feedback.

2. Be clear about what it is that you are going to say in advance – prepare yourself for the feedback. What are the key messages that you want the person to walk away with?

3. Give the feedback in a timely manner – as soon after the event as possible. Find a suitably quiet and safe place to deliver the feedback, not in front of other people.

4. Follow this simple rule; Positive – Area for Development – Positive. Specifically, begin the feedback on a positive note, i.e. tell the person what you observe them to be doing well, introduce an area that you feel they would benefit from developing (further) and finish on another area of positivity and strength.

5. Keep the focus on behaviour and not on the person. It’s very important that the individual doesn’t feel that the feedback is a personal attack on themselves and their personality. e.g. instead of saying that the person isn’t very clear when deliver presentations, tell them that some of the points they raised in a recent presentation lacked clarity.

6. Don’t generalise – be specific, referring to specific incidences, times and events – try to be as descriptive as possible.

7. Focus on the skills and behaviours that you would like to see reinforced or changed and again provide a rationale for this.

8. Always make suggestions for improvements / suggest alternative ways of doing things e.g. when giving someone feedback on their presentation skills perhaps suggest that if they look out at the audience and maintain eye contact, their voice will carry better and they will be heard clearly by everyone in the room – as well as engaging with their audience more effectively.

9. Check for understanding – make sure the person understood you and took the correct messages away from the feedback. Give them time to speak or retort, listening to any concerns or issues that they raise.

10. Always finish on a positive note.


To learn more about our  services, please contact the office: +353-1-6688891 or info@davittcorporatepartners.com

Discover how DavittCorporatePartners can help you to:

Develop Leadership in Your Organisation

Win the War for Talent

Realise Individual Potential

Align Behaviour with Corporate Values


Aoife Harrington is a Registered Work and Organisational Psychologist at DavittCorporatePartners – Corporate Psychologists

The Power of Transformational Leadership

The Power of Transformational Leadership

By Amber Hanna, August 2010

Have you ever been in a group situation where someone has taken control of the group by describing their clear vision for the group’s goals, a real passion for the work to be done and an ability to make the rest of the group feel energized? This style of leadership is known as ‘Transformational Leadership’ a relatively rare but highly sought after leadership style.

Research has shown leaders to be the most prominent aspect of a workplace environment that can shape team members’ perceptions of workplace information. Leaders can use this extraordinary impact to improve team members’ work related attitudes and feelings.

In large companies in particular, a leader’s influence on workflow and task assignment can be rather limited, never the less, leaders in such companies can engage in ‘management of meaning’ or organisational sense making to provide team members with a deeper understanding of how important and meaningful their tasks are. This in turn contributes to greater organisational commitment. A second useful approach can be to give lower and middle hierarchy leaders, in particular, greater autonomy and degrees of freedom. These enriched leadership positions should enable leaders to show many behaviours of the transformational leadership pattern.

Leaders in any organisation or hierarchy should facilitate a positive organisational climate by providing opportunities for contact, support and other social activities, on and off the job. The role of individual team members in promoting consensus and positive organisational climate should also be emphasized by their own fair and respectful behavior towards their co workers they can promote consensus and a positive climate.

The concept of transformational leadership was initially introduced by leadership expert and presidential biographer James MacGregor Burns. According to Burns, transformational leadership can be seen when “leaders and followers make each other advance to a higher level of moral and motivation.” Through the strength of their vision and personality, transformational leaders are able to inspire followers to change expectations, perceptions and motivations to work towards common goals. Bass (1985, 1999) later expanded this theory into the model of transformational leadership we use today. This research outlined how a transformational leader achieves results by seeking to move his/her team beyond immediate self interest through four main processes. These are the processes of idealized influence (or charisma), inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration.

Research indicates that all four components of transformational leadership are positively related to leadership effectiveness, and have positive associations with team member motivations and self rated performance.

Factor 1- Idealized Influence/ Charisma (II)

This factor of transformational leadership describes leaders who act as strong role models for their team members; by seeing their leader as a role model team members begin to identify with the leader and wish to emulate them. This aspect of transformational leadership is enacted when leaders envision a desirable future, articulate how this can be reached and set an example to be followed. The transformational leader uses idealized influence to provide team members with a vision and sense of mission.

Factor 2- Inspirational Motivation (IM)

This factor describes leaders who communicate high expectations to team members, inspiring them through motivation to become committed to and part of a shared vision in the organisation. By helping their team to experience the same passion they feel the transformational leader motivates the team to fulfill their group’s goals. In practice this involves leaders using symbols and emotional appeals to focus the group members’ efforts to achieve more than they would in their own self-interest. This enhances team spirit.

Factor 3- Intellectual stimulation (IS)

This factor refers to leadership that stimulates team members to be creative and innovative and challenge their own beliefs and values as well as those of the organisation or leader.

This factor of transformational leadership supports team members as they engage in new approaches and develop innovative ways of dealing with organisational demands or problems. This factor is thought to encourage team members to think on their own and engage in careful problem solving methods by themselves. Typically transformational leaders enact intellectual stimulation by challenging the status quo, encouraging creativity among their team and always seeking out new ways of doing things and new learning opportunities.

Factor 4- Individualized Consideration (IC)

This factor refers to the transformational leader who provides a supportive climate in which they listen to the individual needs of each team member. By acting as coaches and trusted advisers transformational leaders try to assist their team members to fully realize their own potential as a valuable and contributive team member.

Another important behaviour indicating a transformational style is how the leader uses delegation to assist team members through personal challenges. This part of individualized consideration also highlights the importance of allowing team members the space to develop their own problem solving skills but also providing a directive approach for those who may need it. In order to fully enact this aspect of transformational leadership it is essential the leader keep all lines of communication open. This fosters a culture of everyone in the team contributing ideas and enables the leader to give direct recognition to each team members’ contribution.

It is important to distinguish that directive and supportive leadership behaviours are both needed. Research has distinguished supportive leadership as including behaviours relating to emotional support such as provision of sympathy, evidence of liking, caring and listening. Developmental leadership on the other hand is seen here as being more transformative as it includes behaviours such as career counseling, observation of staff, recording progress and encouraging technical development of skills. Developmental leadership has been found to have a stronger relationship with the outcome variables of job satisfaction; role based self efficacy, career certainty and affective commitment to the organisation.

If you want to gauge your own approach in relation to transformational leadership take a look at the statements below. These statements are taken from a recent measure of transformational leadership devised by Ronald Riggio.

1. I would never require a follower to do something that I wouldn’t do myself. (II)

2. My followers would say that they know what I stand for. (II)

3. Inspiring others has always come easy to me. (IM)

4. My followers have told me that my enthusiasm and positive energy are infectious. (IM)

5. My followers would say that I am very attentive to their needs and concerns. (IC)

6. Even though I could easily do a task myself, I delegate it to expand my followers’ skills. (IC)

7. Team reativity and innovation are the keys to success. (IS)

8. I encourage my followers to question their most basic way of thinking. (IS)


To learn more about our  services, please contact the office: +353-1-6688891 or info@davittcorporatepartners.com

Discover how DavittCorporatePartners can help you to:

Develop Leadership in Your Organisation

Win the War for Talent

Realise Individual Potential

Align Behaviour with Corporate Values


Amber Hanna is a Trainee Work and Organisational Psychologist at DavittCorporatePartners – Corporate Psychologists

Understanding Cultural Differences – Implications for Teams at Work

Understanding Cultural Differences – Implications for Teams at Work

By Aoife Harrington, July 2010

With the globalisation of the economy and the diversification of the labour market, more and more organisations are relying on multi-cultural teams (MCT). Although MCTs often produce more creative solutions and better quality decisions, they can also bring with them complex group dynamics, unique communication issues and a greater potential for interpersonal conflict.

In order to better understand cultural differences, this article will draw primarily on Hofstede’s (1980) Model of Culture – based on data from over 100,000 people in 40 countries.

In brief, Hofstede proposed that there are 5 main dimensions on which cultures can vary;


  • Power Distance – the degree to which less powerful members of institutions and organisations expect and accept that power is distributed unequally
  • Uncertainty Avoidance – the degree of tolerance of ambiguity and uncertainty
  • Individualism – the extent to which individuals are integrated into groups and how people define themselves apart from their group membership
  • Masculinity– the value placed on traditionally male versus female values in society
  • Long-Term Orientation – the degree to which a society embraces long term devotion to tradition and commitment and also their degree of receptivity to change


Some key cultural differences will now be outlined and the implications for MCTs at work will be discussed.


  • Agreeing on Task and Process Strategies:

Like all teams at work, MCTs need to arrive at a common approach to working together. Reaching an agreement from the outset on how meetings will be conducted and what conduct is appropriate during meetings is particularly important in MCTs. In high uncertainty avoidance cultures, setting agendas is essential as they bring a sense of predictability and structure to meetings.  For cultures with low uncertainty avoidance, however, meeting agendas and sticking to them rigidly can be seen as repressive and potentially stifling creativity.


  • Goal Setting:

Cultural differences will play a key role in how goals are set and what these goals entail. Some cultures would interpret the very act of goal setting as task-orientated and insensitive to the needs of the social group. As such, time should be dedicated to establishing a sense of rapport between team members before any goals are set. Different approaches to time will also have an impact on how and when goals are set – depending on whether time is viewed as monochromic or polychromic.


  • Assigning Roles and Responsibilities:

Choosing who does what and who will take the lead can be problematic in MCTs. Who is chosen as the team’s leader and what their responsibilities are is an important decision that the team must make. Cultures can differ significantly in the degree to which the leader is seen as a facilitator versus a decision maker and also the extent to which the team leader can be challenged.


  • Choosing How to Communicate:

The first step in communication is to choose the working language for the MCT. In order to facilitate communication, members should be encouraged to speak slowly and to try to express their view points in alternative ways. Particularly in times of emotional conflict, communication can become even more difficult within MCTs. Translating feelings into words can be very difficult when people are upset and often people do not know equivalent words for emotions across cultures which can lead to misunderstandings.


  • Virtual Communication:

As MCTs are often dispersed both temporally and geographically, virtual communication has become a necessity in organisational life. However, by their very nature, online environments tend to be task-focused and restrict social interaction.  In order to create a greater sense of purpose in the virtual MCT, high quality audio and visual technology, that absorbs team members into the scene, should be used.


  • Decision Making:

How decisions as reached and implemented can differ from one culture to the next, with some cultures seeking consensus, others favouring majority rule and others still looking to power distance, seniority and longevity.


  • Evaluating Performance & Allocating Rewards:

Performance appraisal can be a potential cultural minefield. Appraisal systems, by their very nature, tend to assume that goals can be set and reached and, therefore, that people and time can be managed so to achieve those goals. The allocation of rewards is an equally sensitive issue in MCTs that needs to be handled with care – particularly when people from collectivist and individualistic cultures are members of the same team.


  • Conflict Resolution:

It is essential that ways of managing conflict in MCTs are agreed upon in advance, because the way in which conflict is managed can vary significantly form one culture to the next, depending on whether value is placed on maintaining harmonious relationships versus more masculine values like drive and determination to succeed.


In conclusion, MCTs are inherent in organisational life and businesses need to embrace and take advantage of cultural diversity. This involves identifying and discussing differences and not just ignoring them and hoping that they will go away. Most importantly, as boundaries between nations become increasingly blurred, developing a more general cultural awareness and being receptive to cues of cultural differences will allow MCT members to work together to their best effect.


To learn more about our  services, please contact the office: +353-1-6688891 or info@davittcorporatepartners.com

Discover how DavittCorporatePartners can help you to:

Develop Leadership in Your Organisation

Win the War for Talent

Realise Individual Potential

Align Behaviour with Corporate Values


Aoife Harrington is a Registered Work and Organisational Psychologist at DavittCorporatePartners – Corporate Psychologists

Leading by Example

Leading with Emotional Intelligence

Great businesses are headed by great leaders.  There are a handful of charismatic figures who lead high-profile organisations and names such as Jack Welch of GE and Steve Jobs of Apple come easily to mind.  There are, however, many, many more very successful businesses where the catalyst for that success is as effective but less visible to the outside world.

So what is it that these men and women are doing that is different?

How do they deliver performance and shareholder value?

Research in over 200 companies and organisations worldwide suggests that about one-third of this difference is due to technical skill and cognitive ability while two-thirds is due to emotional competence. In top leadership positions, over four-fifths of the difference is due to emotional competence.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is often defined as the ability to use your emotions intelligently – that is, to understand how your emotions impact upon the way you think, communicate and influence.  Emotionally intelligent people create effective working relationships, solve problems and increase their capacity to perform.  The idea that personal development can be enhanced through looking at emotions, first achieved popular acceptance in 1995 when writer-psychologist Daniel Goleman published his best selling book “Emotional Intelligence”.

Leaders with high EQ have been shown to add as much as 127% more value to the bottom line of their organization than average leaders. Indeed, how executives handle their own emotions determines how much people want to interact with them.

Even in jobs of medium complexity studies of EQ have found that a top performer is 12 times more productive than those at the bottom and 85 percent more productive than an average performer.

Empowering Employees – Making the Most of Your Human Capital

Empowering Employees – Making the Most of Your Human Capital

By Aoife Harrington May 2010

Times are tough. Economies are faltering. Businesses are under increasing pressure. Now is the time for organisations to capitalize on their strengths, particularly their human capital, and one way of doing this is through employee empowerment. Empowerment is a buzz word that has been bandied about for many years – overused and misused in many contexts – but what exactly is it and how can it be best achieved in order to make sure that your business makes the most of its human capital?

Fundamentally, empowerment is about recognising and releasing into the organisation the power that people already have within them in terms of their experience, knowledge and motivation. It represents a move away from traditional top down models of management and involves a controlled transfer of authority, responsibility and power to people at different levels of the organisation. Essentially empowerment allows employees to think, act, function and make decisions in autonomous ways.

Empowerment has been found to be associated with significant organisational gains, including an increase in work commitment and job satisfaction, commitment to organisational goals, better team performance and increased product and service quality. It has also been found to have a positive impact on employee turnover and employee stress levels as it promotes greater role clarity.  Giving power to your people will not only make them happier and more productive, it will have benefits across the organisation, including the identification of high potential performers and freeing up more time for business leaders to focus on strategic thinking, more complex problem solving and others executive leadership matters.

Organisations often take for granted, however, that employees will welcome and indeed be committed to empowerment. It’s not just a case of convincing employees that they are powerful, however, employees must consider themselves to have gained some power. One of the most important messages for organisations today is that it is individuals that must make the choice of whether to be empowered or not, leaders simply create the environment in which individuals can make that choice.

8 Steps to Creating an Empowerment Environment

  1. 1. Improve Communication:
  • Progressively sharing vital and often sensitive company information will develop a sense of mutual trust between management and employees and will facilitate employees making informed, independent decisions.
  • Communication must be two-way: it is not only important for management to keep employees in the loop on what’s going on in the business but they should be willing to listening to staff also.
  • Upward communication provides a means for employees to express their views and grievances openly to management.
  • Getting employee to share their points of view can be encouraged by using suggestion boxes, brain storming, focus groups and quality circles and the output from this should be evaluated and implemented, by management, as appropriate.

  1. 2. Provide Training & Learning Opportunities:
  • Organisations must remember that people often don’t have the necessary skills or capabilities to deal with the new responsibilities that have been bestowed on them through empowerment and thus employees need to be helped to become more competent by providing regular and continuous training.
  • Employees should also be given the opportunity to network with one another and to shadow the work of others so that they can build their level of confidence and their skills repertoire.
  • Since empowerment is also about seizing opportunities for personal growth and self-fulfilment, organic approaches to training should also focus on helping employees to gain a sense of ownership in the organisation and provide opportunities for personal growth and change within the empowered work role.

  1. 3. Change the Corporate Culture:
  • It is fundamentally important that mangers do not just pay lip service to the idea of empowerment. Before the concept is even introduced to employees, the organisation need to get buy in from managers and to educate them on what exactly empowerment is.
  • This process should begin by defining what exactly empowerment is and establishing policies and strategies on how it can be introduced across the organisation.
  • Barriers that limit employees from acting in empowered ways will also need to be identified and removed.


  1. 4. Adapt the Organisational Structure:
  • Empowerment does not mean that organisational leaders are no longer responsible for performance but rather that they are now responsible for creating a culture in which employee contribution is valued and cultivated.
  • Management at all levels will need to be made aware that while strong leadership will be important at the outset when introducing employee empowerment, mangers will need to gradually adapt to more participative management styles to support the empowerment process going forward.
  • Provision of training will be important in this regard and should focus on how to flatten organisational structures,  move on from micro managing employees and increases employee access to the information required to make autonomous decisions.

  1. 5. Set Boundaries:
  • It is important that although employees are delegated control and autonomy, clear boundaries are set.
  • Managers must be open and honest about what decisions employees can make and which they cannot.
  • Employees should be taught how to set realistic, specific and measurable goals.
  • Accountability needs to be passed down to employees as well as control.

  1. 6. Reward Employee Participation:
  • In order to prevent employees from feeling that empowerment is being used as a front for getting them to do more for less, the organisation’s reward system needs to be changed
  • Contingent rewards systems including pay for performance and profit sharing initiatives help to forge a sense of ownership between the employee and the organisation.
  • Individual performance-based reward-systems also work well in empowered organisations.
  • Managers must remember to reward employees in visible ways and provide them with continuous, constructive feedback on their performance.
  • Praise for accomplishment and acknowledgement of effort will also ensure that employees feel rewarded for taking on additional responsibilities.


  1. 7. Support Empowered Employees:
  • A safe environment should be created where people can learn to cope with their responsibilities and try out new skills.
  • Employees should not be punished for making mistakes but rather they should be urged to learn from them and do better next time.
  • Provision of support for the integration of employee work and family lives
  • Developing networks between employees which will help to build wider and stronger relationships at work which will be a source of social support.

  1. 8. Support the Power Sharers:
  • Organisations must not forget to support the power sharers in empowerment initiatives, which, more often than not, are middle managers. Often middle managers are most resistant to empowerment initiatives as they fear that the organisation will no longer need them and that they will be made redundant.
  • Organisations should try to increase the scope of delegation of responsibilities from senior management to middle management
  • Training should be provided for middle managers in how to effectively manage and lead empowered teams

Although difficult to define, empowerment is a concept that most organisations must at least consider if they wish to retain their competitive edge. It is important that organisations recognise that empowerment will not happen overnight but that it will take some time before employees feel truly empowered. By training employees in the necessary skills, improving lines of communication, flattening the organisational structure, creating a culture of participation and supporting the power sharers, the process of empowerment is likely to be accelerated and collective organisational success will ensure.


To learn more about our  services, please contact the office: +353-1-6688891 or info@davittcorporatepartners.com

Discover how DavittCorporatePartners can help you to:

Develop Leadership in Your Organisation

Win the War for Talent

Realise Individual Potential

Align Behaviour with Corporate Values


Aoife Harrington is a Consultant Organisational Psychologist at DavittCorporatePartners – Corporate Psychologists

Read an interview with Adrienne Davitt in this month’s Marketing Age magazine

Read an interview with Adrienne Davitt in this month’s Maketing Age magazine.

Marketing Age – Moving On Up Issue 1 2010

or visit their website:  here

Getting Redundancy Right

Getting Redundancy Right- As published in March 2010 issue of “IE.AB” The official publication of the ACCA

If redundancy and workforce transitioning is managed properly, businesses can ensure that valued employees make the transitions into new roles and organisations, while remaining staff are kept motivated and engaged, according to DavittCorporatePartners, Ireland’s leading organisational psychology consultancy, which provides client’s with proven psychological solutions to enhance their business performance.

Outplacement and career transitioning services assist organisations to: increase motivation among remaining employees; improve their ability to retain key staff; project a positive image; and alleviate feelings of anger and fear. individuals can be helped to understand their potential and how to use it to their advantage as well as increasing self awareness and confidence.

Find out more at info@davittcorporatepartners.com


To learn more about our  Career services, please contact the office: +353-1-6688891 or info@davittcorporatepartners.com

Discover how DavittCorporatePartners can help you to:

Develop Leadership in Your Organisation

Win the War for Talent

Realise Individual Potential

Align Behaviour with Corporate Values