A few years back I completed a PhD called "All Hands on Deck" reflecting the dire need in hospitals for all clinicians to operate at their greatest potential - and not to subjugate or diminish themselves to make others feel more superior. I was focusing in particular on the nursing workforce. What I found was that for nurses to make more autonomous clinical decisions, as close to the point of care as possible, they needed to be highly competent, and have confidence, and courage. Even with all the training in the world, unless they felt confident in themselves, unless they believed in themselves and had the courage of their conviction, they would defer the decision to someone else, or simply not make it. The result is either care that is unquestioned or untimely.
These findings are not limited to nurses, or even to the health sector. They apply wherever individuals are required to step up and give their all - not hide within the safety of 'the team'. And at no time is this more important than now when resources are running in short supply, particularly human resources-and where the environment is uncertain and demands innovation and agility.
The key to organisational resilience, synergy, and agility is enabling individuals to operate autonomously in collaboration with each other. I'll talk about the Autonomy-Collaboration Paradox some other time. Suffice to say that the nucleus of autonomy and collaboration - the thread that links these two concepts - is individual self-empowerment. Self-empowered people have a strong belief in themselves, what they stand for, and the impact they can personally have on a situation, a project or the world. They are not afraid to present their views; they do not fear that they will lose power by listening to and adopting the views of others. They have what the late Stephen Covey would call an "abundance mentality," and an insatiable desire to continue expanding themselves and those around them. There are obvious examples of people exemplifying self-empowerment, such as Mandela and Malala Yousafzai.
Who do you know that exudes self-empowerment?