By Dr. Derrick C. Darden
Tiffin University, Tiffin, Ohio, USA
As our working environment becomes more diverse and global, our knowledge and organizational skills and behavior must develop along with those changes. Cooperating within the workplace is key and goes further than becoming competitive. In the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.”
As a gulf War Veteran Army officer that worked in the fields of logistics and Federal Acquisition in the federal government and later as an entrepreneur, I have seen how organizational form and structure with the federal government and in my own business experience given me foundational keys and principles that had guided me to success in both the public and private sectors. Working together with co-workers, supervisors and management within organizations is the catalyst for success. This book is the start of knowing situational understanding in navigating on teams successfully or communicating to higher management. My experience in both perspective and practical will help the reader gain insight and those golden nuggets that can help get out of chaotic situations. If you are on a team or in leadership, developing the skills of Cooperation within the Workplace can prove successful for you and your organization.
Derrick Darden, PhD
New Book now available on Amazon (Click): Cooperating in the Workplace
Derrick C. Darden, PhD
What makes an individual employee feel satisfied on the job? What makes an employee increase in productivity and creativity? It’s called Empowerment. The employee becomes satisfied in the workplace when they are empowered and given the opportunity to have ownership over their projects and careers. When you empower an individual employee, you, the manager, relinquish control over the situation. Empowerment allows the individual control over their own fate. Empowerment gives an individual control over not only their work assignments, projects or assigned tasking, but it gives control over their destiny.
When employers delegate authority and responsibility over to their employees, this not only increases job enrichment, along with job satisfaction and the decreased turnover within the organization, but it develops the individual employee for future jobs within the organization. This assures that the organization maintains its competitive edge amongst their industry (Lepak & Gowan, 2016).
When reflecting on my own experience as a team leader, I emphasize to each member to have a sense of ownership when it comes to their assigned work- in other words, become responsible for the task you were given. This ownership gives the team member a sense of empowerment, making their part in whatever project or task essential and it puts them on notice to achieve beyond expectations.
As a leader, I follow five principles that empower my team members;
- Trust in individuals- Each member of the team has talents and abilities. When joined with other talented individuals, you have collective abilities and knowledge that can accomplish results in their own ways. Give them the autonomy to take charge of the situation or task. Have faith in your people.
- Equip individuals with the necessary tools of success- give them the latitude to connect with others within the company and outside the company such as vendors, customer and potential future customers.
- Acknowledge achievements- My organization has monthly gatherings for hail and farewells, but also to recognize the professional achievements of teams and individuals.
- Decentralize Decision Making –As a team leader, my supervisor gives me the latitude in charting the course for my team. I also encourage my members to collaborate not only with each other, but with other teams within the organization. This assures individual growth, encourages creativity, and increases productivity and job satisfaction within the individual and the collective team.
- Encourages Collaboration – The workplace should be viewed as a collective and cooperative effort and not an environment of hard labor at the hands of the task master. As mentioned, my team work with other teams within the organization, being isolated and forbidden to speak with others inhibits growth and creativity for individuals and the organization. Remember, one does not succeed alone.
To conclude, empowerment of individuals assures individual success and organizational success. This translates into the organization as a whole having a competitive advantage amongst its industry. This also enhances the workplace culture within the organization.
Remember whatever leadership role you play in the organization, if you allow people the opportunity to be creative and become responsible for themselves, they will grow and make your job easy. As Leaders, think of yourself as a servant and not the task Master.
Lepak. D & Gowan, M. (2016). Human Resource Management: Managing Employees for Competitive Advantage (2nd ed). Chicago Business Press