04 Aug

WHAT DOES EMPLOYEE EMPOWERMENT REALLY MEAN?

I often hear my C-Suite clients complain about a lack of accountability from their mid-level leaders. They are especially disappointed that they have communicated quite clearly that their B-Suite should feel more empowered. 

When I ask them how many layers they have removed from their approval process or how many governance forums they have replaced themselves on, it’s evident that what most senior leaders mean by empowerment is not what the dictionary means.

What empowerment actually means is ‘the act of giving power to someone’.

What most C-Suite leaders mean is FEEL empowered rather than BE empowered.

It actually means they are asking others to take greater accountability without also letting them take greater power or autonomy.

The issue is not a lack of accountability in your B-Suite. The issue is actually too much accountability – and not enough autonomy. They don’t know when to delegate, when to escalate and when to negotiate, because no-one has re-set expectations with them yet. As a result they are still trying to do it all, and we should beware – if your B-Suite burns out, your employees will opt out.

So how do you truly empower your B-Suite, so that they can be more accountable?


Rebecca is Australia’s pre-eminent advocate for B-suite leadership – the expert in developing hi-impact B-Suite leadership at both a team and individual level.

Speak to Rebecca about:

  • Individual and group coaching
  • Team effectiveness and training
  • People & Culture Advisory

You can reach her on rebecca.houghton@boldhr.com.au

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