Employee engagement’s a favorite topic of mine. I don’t believe there’s any debate about it’s importance and the direct relationship it has to the productivity of a company. Today I’d like to discuss what I think is the core of a successful employee engagement program: Empowered Employees.

According to Business Dictionary, Employee Empowerment is:

A management practice of sharing information, rewards, and power with employees so that they can take initiative and make decisions to solve problems and improve service and performance.

But just like an employee plays an important role in Employee Engagement, they also play an equally important role to be an empowered employee. So, without further ado, I present the four steps you (and your team mates) should be taking to become empowered employees:

Communicate – Upwards And Down

There can be no sharing of information without communication. And your responsibility as a person who wants to be empowered is to take hold of the communication reigns – both upwards and down. Can you imagine the culture of a company where everyone actively opens up the doorways to communication? We often get so fixated on making sure that the powers that be have an open door policy, we often forget to first check our own attitudes and actions.

Be Comfortable With Failing

If you first at don’t succeed – try, try again. How often have we been taught this during our school years? I think it to be truer in our professional lives as compared to when we were younglings playing in the playground. There is so much to be learned from failing – a skill you have yet to learn, a process you didn’t think about or a better way to beat the competition. So many people are afraid of failing that they often forget to take the initiative. Obviously, this creates a person which is anything but empowered.

Clarify Your Roles And Responsibilities

One element of being empowered is to make decisions and solve problems. But if you’re not clear about what problems you should be solving to do well at your job, you’ll probably end up being a nuisance – even if you are finding solutions. A strong organization is a well-oiled machine, one where everyone is doing their part. If one part starts doing the job of another, the machine will fail. Thus it’s crucial that you know what your role and responsibilities are for the success of the bigger picture.

Be Independent While Being A Good Teammate

You need to be able to work independently and be a good teammate to be a truly empowered employee. No longer is just one or the other “your greatest strength.” The environment in which we operate in today fluctuates far too much. There will be tasks which you need to achieve as The Lone Ranger. Probably not as often as the need to be a good team player, but the requirement will arise. Whichever role you need to play, do it whole heartedly and do it well.

Four points which seem simple enough but as always, nothing comes from free. These are not just bullet points that you can check off one morning. They’re habits that you’ll need to work on regularly to truly succeed in becoming an empowered employee. Share any other tips that you think would work below and don’t miss out on other ideas that could help you advance your career.