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What a terrific question in light of the current assault on unions and the little guy employees. In my opinion, having worked in business before teaching and working in schools with many different principals, I think most managers find it difficult to empower their people; they are afraid of letting go of the power and decisions which they hold. The best principal I ever had empowered her people the most and also demanded the best. Too many don't trust the loyalty of their people or the skills of their people. Managers seem to feel that only by micro-managing every aspect of the job will it turn out the way they want. This message tells employees that they are not as competent nor as able to fulfill requirements as the manager; consequently, employees become afraid to try anything with their own ideas or even communicate their ideas to their boss. Fear, pressure from above to produce ever more with fewer people, pressure from the stockholders about dividends, all combine to create paralysis from management about the willingness to empower employees. That would require a collaborative culture, trust, a willingness to listen, all of which seem to be absent for most managers. Sad, isn't it?
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