Empowerment Leadership Essay

2033 words - 9 pages


This paper is organized as follows. First we explain the theory on psychological empowerment and various leadership theories to develop a relationship between empowering leadership and employee creativity. Secondly it provides case studies to support the empowerment theories. We argue that the use positive psychology, specifically empowering leadership, contributes to employee success within an organization. The paper cites research by various highly esteemed professors and the primary sources were various internet articles, journals and websites.


The use of positive psychology, originally proposed by Martin ...view middle of the document...

Gretchen Spreitzer, professor of management and organizations at the University of Michigan, suggests that in a thriving organization “employees are not just satisfied and productive but also engaged in creating the future – the company’s and their own” Satisfied, content employees are often found to be complacent, but when employees are excited about their work, studies have found they demonstrate on average 16% better over all performance.

According to the research of Gretchen Spreitzer, there are “four mechanisms that create the conditions for thriving employees: providing decision-making discretion, sharing information, minimizing incivility, and offering performance feedback.” Helping the process succeed require leaders who are open to empowering their employees

An empowering leader must first help the employee understand the meaningfulness of their work by helping them understand the importance of their contribution to the overall company. (Ahearne, 2005). When a person understands how their work contributes to the organizational goals they are more inclined to contribute more effectively and look for innovative solutions. When Zingernan’s Roadhouse restaurant started a game which tracked how long it took for customers to be greeted and how many more purchases were comped for the “ungreeted” customers to compensate for their expressed dissatisfaction. The game went on to give a modest reward to all servers who greeted their customers within the first five minutes. The inspired servers quickly found ways to expedite the service process which resulted in an increase in revenue for the restaurant. (Spreitzer, 2012)

Theresa M. Amabile is the Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School. She is also a Director of Research at the School. Originally educated and employed as a chemist, Dr. Amabile received her Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford University in 1977. Her research investigates how life inside organizations can influence people and their performance. Her research suggests that a leader must also express confidence in the employee’s ability to perform the task with a high level of performance. Studies have found that that supportive leadership lends to a more positive impact on employee creativity and controlling leadership produces a more negative creative output (Amabile, 2004)

Professor Charles Manz of the University of Minnesota maintains that an empowering leader encourages employee participation in the decision making process which promotes the employee’s feeling that they can make an impact. (Manz & Sims, 1987). Encouraging employee participation is always a good management skill and strategy. But when managers openly discuss organizational issues or problems and solicit employee suggestions and feedback, allowing employees to feel part of the management decision making process, this results in an employee who is energized to give...

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