The metaphor was described as magical by the Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset. He referred to them as one of the most fertile and fruitful powers on earth. If you don’t use this power, you’re missing out on a verbal opportunity to project an image of it.
The two-word metaphor first appeared in a 1986 “Wall Street Journal” headline and even made it to the White House. The term refers to the ‘glass ceiling’ that seems to prevent some women from climbing the ladder of success in various workplaces. In 1991, the White House Committee on Women and Girls introduced the “Glass Ceiling Initiative” to help women and minorities enter businesses.
When asked how his company increased revenue by 246% in 1995, CEO Robert Eaton answered with one word: “Empowerment.” It’s a simple word. Are there specific ways of working to encourage employees to feel empowered?
If not, consider a five-in approach. If you are not a supervisor, discuss your organization’s workforce and the possibility of using the approach, modifying it as needed.
The Five-In Approach asks individuals to consider how much responsibility they will accept for a given project. Here’s what you say when you take the Responsibility step with your followers.
The highest level 5 is the IN dependency declaration. Commitment to this level is basically saying that you want to take full responsibility for the results. As a level 5 player, you don’t report to anyone. (Of course, such a decision also means that you take full responsibility in your own power.) You are 100% responsible for the planning, the process it goes through, and the products it produces.
Level 4 with about 80% power should start. Come up with an idea to improve some aspect of your work, get approval for potential permissions, and start a project. But you are willing to give up some of your responsibilities and assign someone to do something. You oversee the person’s work and take almost full responsibility. You will act as an administrator at this stage.
In the next step, you and others (usually your manager) take 50/50 responsibility for the implementation of a given plan. If the previous two steps were top-down, this is lateral consensus, a two-way distance. You can create an improvement plan or assign it to your manager. Either way, you prepare an outline you tend to do. Once approved, you will move on and report your progress regularly to your manager as you progress. Responsibilities and responsibilities are shared equally at this partnership level.
When you have neither the time nor the will to fully devote yourself to the project, you may want to work at the second lowest level, IN-vestigate. Once we’ve identified the need or potential for improvement, we’ll do some research to determine if it’s a worthwhile effort. (Maybe it’s already been done. Maybe someone else is already working on it. Maybe you don’t have the funds to implement it.) After research, if it’s a project worth running, I’ll hand it over to someone else. Who will assume about 80% of the responsibility for completion? The greatest part of the responsibility will also fall on this person’s shoulders. Your input will be made only at the start of the project, but you are responsible for the accuracy and thoroughness of your investigation as to the feasibility of your project. At this level, you are certainly serving in a subordinate position.
Level 1, the lowest level of responsibility/responsibility, only requires you to IN-shape someone you perceive need. That’s it, you are no longer responsible. Someone else independently investigates, plans intent, initiates and/or operates. There is practically no involvement or ownership here. The person to whom you hand it over takes almost 100% responsibility/responsibility.