"When you empower employees, the whole company becomes smarter."


A cooperative and co-creative world requires a new kind of leadership that moves between creativity, orientation and security. The following article deals with how to empower employees.

Minutes to read

Hybrid forms of work, interdisciplinary teams, cross-border exchange: in the digital transformation, organisations are experiencing wild times. Many companies will change, as will the way their employees work together. They need a new framework in which they can move and become effective. Managers who are faced with a new key task are in particular demand.

Social collaboration tools like Slack or Trello open up new forms of cooperation for people. They network across team and department boundaries. Many companies rely on interdisciplinary project teams in which people from product management, development, marketing, sales and other units work together towards a common goal. In this new working world, no one has to hide; everyone brings their own qualities to the table. Cooperation and co-creation is the motto, and that means above all exchange and appreciation.

Characters and expert knowledge

Marketing and UX specialists discuss how to improve lead generation on a website. Software developers work together with editors on customised product solutions for their users. The times when individuals had the overview and knew what to do and how are over. Those who are looking for clever solutions for changing markets and customer needs already bring together different characters and different expert knowledge in the development process, also from different hierarchical levels. For successful work, employees need nothing more than a goal, the right work tools - and freedom.

Leadership has the task of creating the framework in which people can move and become effective.

"It's about wanting to keep empowering your people, because leadership needs a complete team to oversee all the complexity," says Petra Wille, Product Leadership Coach, in the podcast ErfolgsgeDANKE. "If the leader is the smartest person in the company, then the company is inevitably not smarter than that person. If you empower employees, the whole company automatically becomes smarter." Organisations need a breeding ground where individual effectiveness and collective intelligence can flourish.

Individual freedom and the big picture

Managers can (and must) activate this potential of people for innovation and corporate success. Freedom for creativity is one thing, but providing orientation is another. And security. The framework is always formed by the strategic corporate goals, which are concretised as divisional and team goals. So that with all individual freedom and commitment, the big picture is not lost sight of.

Instead of ordering, approving and controlling, managers focus on supporting, accompanying and helping when necessary.

Leaders communicate the corporate vision, the whys and wherefores of the goals to employees. Most importantly, they make it clear to people how each of them, with their skills and personality, can make an important contribution. Instead of ordering, approving and controlling, leaders focus on supporting, accompanying and helping when needed.

A power to act

Whether they are broadening the scope for decision-making in projects and in dealing with customers, promoting knowledge sharing and open communication, or enabling daily learning: Leaders give employees a mandate to act. Empowerment is becoming the new key task of leaders.

Organisations are fundamentally questioning their leadership style and hierarchies by empowering people and democratising structures.

In the future, more and more employees will become entrepreneurs of their own company, making autonomous decisions, becoming self-effective, increasing their own competences and going to work with their own motivation. Organisations are fundamentally questioning their management style and hierarchies by empowering people and democratising structures. If no stone is left unturned, this often leads to internal conflicts. So what do companies gain from this change? As a reward, they promote the speed of decision-making, innovative strength and productivity of their teams. And in the long run, this increases the penetrating power and competitiveness of the entire organisation.

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