Thursday, January 21, 2016

A New Term for Bosses: "Employee Empowerment Advocates"

While we all read countless blog posts on a daily basis, how many stand out? What makes a particular post stand out? I read an excellent post quite some time ago, and not only the title but the message have remained with me.

The question posed by the post was, should we banish the word "boss" from our business vocabulary? There are so many negative connotations with the word boss stemming from how a boss supervises his or her employees to how he or she interacts with them in casual situations. However, since the boss oversees departments and teams, assigns projects, and conducts performance reviews, it is clear why the individual known as the boss is in charge. (Recall all the Dilbert cartoons?)

We've all seen people change overnight when they assume the title of boss. It's as if a light bulb goes on in the individual's head, and he or she is no longer able to communicate or empathize with employees. This does not create a positive working environment – and the boss is the reason.

So, what can be done? The memorable blog post recommended shifting from the term boss toward a more educational term of mentor. But that really doesn’t go far enough. Titles are not the only thing that must change in order for workplaces to become more productive and positive.

Corporate cultures must change, and in the process, anyone who has the privilege of supervising employees, teams, and departments must evolve. These supervisors, managers or leaders must be genuine advocates for their employees. They must provide their employees with the tools to do their jobs as well as the authority to make decisions to improve customer experiences.

In the words of leadership expert Mark Herbert, "Leadership is a gift, not a position. It doesn’t require you to be the smartest person in the room…It requires you to block and tackle for others."

So, would you use my term for your boss: Employee Empowerment Advocate? If it improves your workplace culture, I invite you to adopt my term.

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