New research from the Harvard Business Review (HBR) addresses when employee empowerment works and when it doesn’t. “Empowerment” activities include things like delegating authority and decision-making, sharing information, and asking for input from subordinates. HBR looked at whether an empowering leadership style was linked to improved job performance, and tested whether this was true of different types of performance, such as routine task performance, organizational citizenship behavior, and creativity. The analysis yielded a few main results: first, empowering leaders are much more effective at influencing employee creativity and citizenship behavior (i.e., behavior that is not formally recognized or rewarded like helping coworkers or attending work functions that aren’t mandatory) than routine task performance. Second, by empowering their employees, these leaders are also more likely to be trusted by their subordinates, compared to leaders who do not empower their employees.
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