Team Empowerment - Autonomy Through Boundaries

Team Empowerment - Autonomy Through Boundaries

A boundary is a limit or a dividing line. It is a border that defines a territory. When a boundary is not clearly defined, people must attempt to decide for themselves where it is, and history is full of examples of how man has struggled over unclear boundaries.

The word “empowerment” as it applies to the workplace, is ambiguous, meaning different things to different people. Therefore, it needs further clarification beyond an assumed definition.  In our earlier blog posts, we defined empowerment as an environment where people can function without rigid hierarchy and are rewarded for using good judgment. We further said that empowerment delegates authority and allows, permits, and authorizes people to take independent actions. 

These “independent actions” however, need some boundaries so that people can take them without fear. Keep in mind, however, that the intent of boundaries in a culture of empowerment is not to restrict action (as it is in a hierarchy) but rather create responsibility and freedom to act within defined responsibilities. Hierarchy tends to narrow the boundaries, whereas empowerment widens them.