A short story on Empowerment

Seven years I labored for the coffee giant, Starbucks. Three as a barista and four as a supervisor. Being a supervisor shaped me to become a fun leader who aimed for excellent customer service. However, one of my favorite things to do was to empower my co-workers in their different phases of development.

One of the exercises as the on-duty manager was to let my co-workers “manage” the floor. For an hour or so I handed them the authority to see what decisions they would take, where they placed their focus. At first they would get nervous, telling other co-workers what to do but I knew that was part of the experience. It ultimately would boil down to two approaches: Would they take the high-speed approach but risk great customer service or would they take their time with each customer and hand-craft excellent Frappucinnos?

Every time I ‘gave’ them the power to control the floor, without mistake, I would notice how the next shift they worked, their level of awareness was greater. I learned something crucial for the rest of my life life: The greater the awareness, the easier it becomes for people to work as a team, putting others first and then themselves. Empowerment.

Do you agree with the above story on empowering others? Or do you think power must be earned? What are your thoughts?

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