I need a response to my classmate below:
What are the most important steps change leaders take to empower people during a change initiative? Explain why you have prioritized these.
There are several essential steps to empowering your employees to lead change. The most important is to communicate the vision and set expectations as clearly and succinctly as possible. Employees need to understand what they are working for and what responsibilities they will have. Leaders can empower employees to make decisions aligned with the goals when they know the vision. (Bosworth, 1).
Delegation and autonomy are also critical parts of empowerment. Also, you can’t just delegate the drudge tasks. You should delegate stretch or growth assignments to your team and give them the ability to complete the tasks the way they want, not how you would have done it (1). Delegation may involve skill training or additional resources, or it may not. If they get off track, give them timely feedback to allow them to course-correct without micromanaging.
What are the most significant barriers and misunderstandings leaders have to overcome to realize this empowerment? Explain why you have prioritized these.
The two most significant barriers to change for my company are systems and supervisors (Kotter, 2). Supervisors are a massive problem in the law department because, generally, attorneys are terrible managers. I previously mentioned that attorneys are not usually business majors. As such, they were never trained in team development or team management. Attorneys also have huge control issues and second-guess everything their employees do (2). They also try to control the narrative and make it impossible for employees to make decisions on their own or even discuss issues. While all our attorneys do not have these issues, a significant amount does. Those supervisors will need management training to fix this issue. If that does not solve the problem, we will need to address the issue directly with the supervisors.
The second barrier is systems, particularly around HR systems and tying compensation, promotions, and other incentives to support the vision (2). I’m not sure if it’s necessarily a system’s issue as it is accountability or a cultural factor. When I started this project, one of the proposed solutions was to have a small goal cascaded through the department that would require everyone to focus on learning a new technology or develop a more efficient way of working to help promote adoption. The General Counsel told me that it would be better if I convinced everyone instead. Without the accountability and alignment of goals and rewards, the vision is lost or, at the very least, undermined.
Share one example from your own professional experience where your organization has gotten it right or gotten it wrong when it comes to employee empowerment.
I mentioned it slightly above, but I have found that attorneys struggle with employee empowerment in almost every legal organization I have worked in, both in-house and law firm. Attorneys are known as terrible managers (Dao, 3). This issue generally has two causes:
Attorneys have licenses to protect, which would cost their livelihoods if they lost their bar standing.
Attorneys do not usually possess team management, team development, or other managerial training. They are ill-equipped to hold managerial roles, despite their advanced degrees.
Another aspect that can impact empowerment if you are in a hierarchical organization is that attorneys in these organizations do not generally recognize non-attorneys as professionals, even if they hold advanced degrees in business or other specialties.
It’s a general problem in legal organizations. While the mindset is slowly changing, I am finding that it’s harder to change internal legal compared to law firms because they are somewhat insulated from what is going on in the “real world.”
Patrick Bosworth. 2022. How to Empower Employees in the Workplace – 8 Tips. LeadershipChoice. https://leadershipchoice.com/empower-employees-in-the-workplace/
John P. Kotter. 2012. Leading Change.
Hong Dao. 2021. Death by Bad Management: Leadership as an Antidote to Terrible Bosses. Law Practice Today. https://www.lawpracticetoday.org/article/death-by-bad-management-leadership-as-an-antidote-to-terrible-bosses/
I need a response to my classmate below: