Empowerment is the sense that you, as an individual, have the power and authority to take appropriate action in your workplace. You feel you have a choice. You can express yourself openly. You are listened to. And you can influence the strategic, administrative or operational activities of your organisation through your ideas and the work you do. But what are the benefits of creating empowered brains throughout your organisation? And, more importantly, how do you empower the brain to boost productivity at both an individual and team level?

The benefits of an empowered brain 

neuroscience brainPeople with empowered brains feel more in control and more competent in the work they do. And this means that they are:

  1. Satisfied: Satisfaction is the extent to which your needs are fulfilled. In the context of work, it refers to how much your daily tasks give you a feeling of meaning, enjoyment and satisfaction. And research shows that people with empowered brains are more likely to experience fulfilment at work and therefore report higher levels of job satisfaction.
  1. Committed: When you feel like you have autonomy in your job, when you feel that you can do your job competently, and when you feel that your work is making a significant impact then it has the knock-on effect of increasing your commitment to your organisation because you know it is a psychologically safe place which allows you to express yourself.
  1. Loyal: Being able to work within an empowering workplace is a critical criterion for many employees and job seekers – it is something their brain wants and needs. So when they find it, they are more likely to sustain or increase their loyalty to the organization and stay in the job for longer.
  1. Performing: Empowered brains are better at anticipating problems and acting independently in the face of risk or uncertainty. The are also more likely to be goal oriented and demonstrate motivation, persistence and resourcefulness in the face of challenge. This is because the person knows that they have the competence, control and support that they need to overcome adversity.
  1. Citizenship: Employees with empowered brains are likely to perform “above and beyond” the call of duty. They work harder, they are more productive, and they contribute those little extras which make all the difference to creating an optimal and pleasant working environment.
  1. Innovative: Empowering employees encourages them to generate and implement ideas and suggestions for change, resulting in higher levels of innovation and creativity at work. It is no good having creative employees who can think up innovations if they then don’t feel empowered to speak out and express their ideas.

How to boost Brain Empowerment

So if those are some of the benefits of brain empowerment, what does an empowered brain need to flourish?

  1. The right managerial strategies. The way the management runs an organisation has a critical impact on brain empowerment. For example, openly sharing information, decentralisation, allowing employees to participate in decision-making processes and providing training can all help. This increases the amount of information and control that the employees have over their work, as well as boosting their knowledge, skills and abilities, helping to make them feel more empowered.
  1. Social Support. Another way to drive brain empowerment is to create a climate of supportiveness. This shows employees that the organisation values and cares about them and their work and has trust in their abilities. Providing social support to employees also helps them to regulate their emotions and helps to engender a sense of belongingness where the employee believes they are an accepted member of the organisation.
  1. Leadership. Research shows that having a supportive, trusting relationship with your manager is a vital factor in brain empowerment. It helps to facilitate the transfer of information and strategies between managers and employees, and also means that leaders can be more effective role models and in their provision of feedback and coaching.
  1. Challenging and meaningful tasks Giving the brain a job which is more challenging, autonomous and has more significance (but still within their abilities) is likely to improve a person’s feelings of competence and contribution, which in turn helps them to feel empowered at work.
  1. Self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the belief that you have what it takes to get a job done. It is the belief that you have the competence and capabilities that are needed to achieve success in your work. And because it is related to feelings of control and self-worth, research suggests that when people are more favourable in the way they evaluate themselves, then they will also feel more empowered in what they are doing.

If you would like to find out more about how to build brain empowerment in your organisation then please get in touch with us at Synaptic Potential.

Synaptic Potential – organisational neuroscience – people strategies