Archive for ‘culture’

February 22, 2016

How to Empower Employees within the Workplace?

Derrick C. Darden, PhD

What makes an individual employee feel satisfied on the job? What makes an employee increase in productivity and creativity? It’s called Empowerment. The employee becomes satisfied in the workplace when they are empowered and given the opportunity to have ownership over their projects and careers. When you empower an individual employee, you, the manager, relinquish control over the situation. Empowerment allows the individual control over their own fate. Empowerment gives an individual control over not only their work assignments, projects or assigned tasking, but it gives control over their destiny.

When employers delegate authority and responsibility over to their employees, this not only increases job enrichment, along with job satisfaction and the decreased turnover within the organization, but it develops the individual employee for future jobs within the organization. This assures that the organization maintains its competitive edge amongst their industry (Lepak & Gowan, 2016).

When reflecting on my own experience as a team leader, I emphasize to each member to have a sense of ownership when it comes to their assigned work- in other words, become responsible for the task you were given.  This ownership gives the team member a sense of empowerment, making their part in whatever project or task essential and it puts them on notice to achieve beyond expectations.

As a leader,  I follow five principles that empower my team members;

  1. Trust in individuals- Each member of the team has talents and abilities. When joined with Empowering Employeesother talented individuals, you have collective abilities and knowledge that can accomplish results in their own ways. Give them the autonomy to take charge of the situation or task. Have faith in your people.
  2. Equip individuals with the necessary tools of success- give them the latitude to connect with others within the company and outside the company such as vendors, customer and potential future customers.
  1. Acknowledge achievements- My organization has monthly gatherings for hail and farewells, but also to recognize the professional achievements of teams and individuals.
  1. Decentralize Decision Making –As a team leader, my supervisor gives me the latitude in charting the course for my team. I also encourage my members to collaborate not only with each other, but with other teams within the organization. This assures individual growth, encourages creativity, and increases productivity and job satisfaction within the individual and the collective team.
  1. Encourages Collaboration – The workplace should be viewed as a collective and cooperative effort and not an environment of hard labor at the hands of the task master. As mentioned, my team work with other teams within the organization, being isolated and forbidden to speak with others inhibits growth and creativity for individuals and the organization. Remember, one does not succeed alone.

To conclude, empowerment of individuals assures individual success and organizational success. This translates into the organization as a whole having a competitive advantage amongst its industry. This also enhances the workplace culture within the organization. Remember whatever leadership role you play in the organization, if you allow people the opportunity to be creative and become responsible for themselves, they will grow and make your job easy.  As Leaders, think of yourself as a servant and not the task Master.


Lepak. D & Gowan, M. (2016). Human Resource Management: Managing Employees for Competitive Advantage (2nd ed). Chicago Business Press

August 7, 2015

He’s Lazy or He’s Lazy Not…

lazy man

As a manager of a large product manufacturing plant, you are reviewing the cost of operating all departments under your responsibility in order to efficiently maintain your product line. At the conclusion of your review, you discover one department is lagging behind the other departments under your control. Furthermore, the supervisor has been one of your top achievers in years past. As you review all of the workers within the departments, you discover that the performance of one particular worker (let’s call him “Homer”) has been very poor compared with that of his peers. You wondered if this worker is receiving the proper training. Is it lack of skills or lack of motivation?  You don’t know, but you will soon pay a visit to Homer’s supervisor.

The following week, you pay a visit to the supervisor of the underperforming department. During casual conversation with the supervisor, you mention that the production line is not operating at the capacity of efficiency that you are used to seeing. The supervisor mentions that he has an employee who is not pulling his weight in his department. His name is Homer. The supervisor proceeds to accuse Homer of being uninterested and unmotivated, and his co-workers agree that his behavior is not energetic and is lazy. The supervisor is visibly spewing emotionally heralding negative comments about the employee. The supervisor then suggests that Homer should be fired.

You reply to the supervisor that, in your research of the employees under his supervision, you learned that Homer had an exceptional record upon being hired; he tested higher than anyone in the present department, and the interviewer remembers him as being highly intelligent, motivated, and passionate about starting work. You tell the supervisor that his interpretation of Homer is wrong; that Homer needs to be challenged, motivated, and inspired. Homer has not been motivated and not challenged, and, as a result, he seems no longer enthusiastic about the job.

Although many speak about motivating someone, only a few really know how to engage someone to perform and challenge themselves in performing the task at hand. How do you get that individual to take ownership of the task and do so without using negative comments from the supervisor and co-workers?

For those who find themselves in this scenario, here are a few suggestions:

  1. Communicate with your employees at all times. Tell them what you have noticed about them and ask how you can help them to further their careers. When you ask a question as such, be prepared to listen.
  2. Role model the behavior you want your employees to display on the job. Be that example your employees can model.
  3. Give employees challenging assignments or projects; don’t give them busy work.
  4. When you give out assignments or projects to your employee, explain their importance, encourage them to perform their best and tell them how critical the assignment or project is to the job .

Remember, when employees appear less proficient on the job and less productive, perhaps the manager or supervisor needs to further examine areas of motivation and their leadership style in order to model motivation.

July 9, 2015

Rumors, they’re Here to Stay


Derrick C Darden


Rumors, fortunately or unfortunately affects us all and in many ways then we care to remember.   Take for instance this juicy example, you’re working on a small facility in the middle of no where and everyone knows your name. Then one day someone spot you  riding  a car with young single  women, not once but twice.   Two people have spotted both of you together and they tell their friends that a relationship is happening between both of you. And now these friends tell others and so on.  Two weeks later this information gets back to you. You know that nothing has happen and the married lady is innocent. Also, how can you stop this embarrassment and shame that have made your name mud?   According to the author of “Rumors and Rumor control: A Manager’s Guide to Understanding and Combating Rumors,” Kimmel (2004), writes that rumors usually appear either through situations of extreme stress, mistrust and confusion.  Further, rumors can also thrive on these irrelevant facts or die a slow death when the crisis has subsided.   Bottom-line is that rumors are unsubstantial claims they’re inaccuracy, mistaken beliefs and misconception. Rumors, causes high anxieties when people have uncertainty with ambiguity.   But, on the other hand rumors can help promote positive information as well.  Rumors or gossip are particularly useful in organizations.  You may ask how? It’s through the grapevine method.    Some researcher credits the grapevine with transmitting 75 to 90 percent of information to be factual.  Others claim that a company grapevine show if an organization is healthy or not.  So, rumors can hurt or harm an individual or a group of people and rumors can promote whatever ideal you want to expose others to in your organization.

In the landmark study conducted by both Drs. Allport and Postman (1951), “Psychology of Rumors.”  They concluded that as rumors travel from person to person, they can become shorter and easier to comprehend as they are told from recipient to recipient. Seventy percent of the details in the message were lost during repetitive transmission of the rumor.

So, why do people bother with rumors? What are some of the intrinsic values do rumors present?    Researcher Kimmel (2004) evaluates that rumors present a basic elements   of how humans interact with each other.  So, whether these rumors are negative or positive they have the capacity to address our human desires, needs and wants. .


Benefit to organizations

Organizations can benefit through the spreading of rumors and gossip in the workplace.  Researchers Noon and Dell Bridge (1993) cites in their article “News from behind my hand: Gossip in Organizations” that rumors or gossip in organizations can sustain and perpetuate positive factors within the organization.   And these positive factors perpetuate clarity and understanding of the social structure within the organization.  Second, they point out important ramification for the relationship and formal structure within the workplace.  Third, rumors or gossip can protect the organization by offering individuals, informal social mobility influence and an escapism.




I heard it through the grapevine


Another positive influence that organizations can have on the flow of communication within the workplace is to use the grapevine to control what information is transmitted.  It’s the grapevine that transmit informal communication occurs within the organization.  .  According to Dr. Robbins (2004), the grapevine experience can be beneficial to managers by knowing the morale levels within the organization. Second, the grapevine experience can help manager understand the uncertainties and stresses among us their employees. Third, manager can understand and evaluate how formal and informal communication effectively assimilates within the organization.

Stop the rumors

Lastly, if you want to stop the rumors or gossip from spreading?  There are a number of methodologies, both credible and non-credible. It depends on your situation and how effective you want the result to manifest. Bottom-line, deal with rumors and gossip head on.


       So, the bottom line with rumors or gossip can be mentally stressful to an individual or a group. they can convey positive as well as negative messages throughout any organization.  And rumors and/or gossip will always be around as long as people cohabitant.





Allport, G. W & Postman, L. (1947). Psychology of Rumor. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

Cauldron, S. (1998). On the Contrary: They heard it through the Grapevine. Workforce, Vol. 77, (11), p.25-27.

Delbridge, R. & Noon, M. (1993). News from behind my hand: Gossip in Organizations. Organization Studies. 14(1), p.23-26.

Kimmel, A. (2004). Rumors and Rumor Control: A manager’s Guide to Understanding and Combating Rumors. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc .

Robbins, S (2004). Essentials of Organizational Behavior (8th ed.) New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.

July 29, 2012

Is praise always a good thing?

Is it detrimental to praise a child for their intelligence or abilities? As a society we tend to praise and show admiration of our young for their intelligence or abilities. The problem with praising a child is not the act, but how it’s conveyed and how it’s delineated to the individual child. Praising a child for their intelligence and not for their effort or hard work will harm them emotionally in the future.  By praising a child for their ability you are opening them up to not only potential failure, but disappointment should they not be as successful the next time around.  Praising a child for their ability draws attention to them and makes a big deal of the accomplishment, regardless of whether it is from effort or intelligence and ability.

    There is research that supports this thinking about the effects of praise. In 1998, Dr. Carol C. Dweck, a psychologist from Columbia University, published some startling findings.  She administered a simple test to over 700 school-age children in New York City. Afterwards, researchers praised half the group for their intelligence and ability with phrases such as “you are so smart” or “you really used your brains on that test.” For the other group, she praised them for their effort and the hard work in getting the grade that they received.  Later, she offered the group a choice of an easy and a harder test. One test was the same level as the previous and the other was slightly harder. Surprisingly, the majority of the students praised for their intelligence picked the same test level as before and those that were praised for their effort and hard work chose the harder test. Dr. Dweck (1998) found that children praised for effort increased their test score by 30% and those praised for their intelligence scored 20% lower. 

     Dr. Dweck explains that when a child is praised for their intelligence, this puts that child in a fixed mindset that then leads to avoidance of new challenges in the future because of a fear of looking less intelligent. Dr. Dweck’s research suggests to all parents, teachers and leaders that praise of a child should be for hard work, perseverance and resiliency; she called this a growth mindset (Dweck, 1998).     

     In 2006, Dr. Dweck expanded the study to adults and those in leadership positions, and again the results were remarkable. She found that those with growth mindsets were willing to embrace challenges, learn from criticism and adapt by applying themselves with more effort in order to overcome tough assignments in the workplace. The opposite was true for those who were of a fixed mindset, and they instead tended to run away from challenges, had no resilience, made no effort to finish the job, and avoided unfavorable criticism. Furthermore, those from a fixed mindset perspective must continue to validate their expectations and abilities on the job. Those with a mindset opposite to that of a fixed mindset embraced new challenges, didn’t rely on others to validate them, and were open to potential for getting the job done.   

    Therefore, the bottom line is that praise and motivation of your child with an emphasis on their innate intelligence will be detrimental to their future in society. Instead one should praise children for hard work and perseverance. In this way, they will surely succeed as a child and in future work. To reemphasize, praise for effort, rather than intelligence, fosters a growth mindset that highlights the notion that taking risks and putting forth effort can bring with it rewards, even if the risk of getting there is uncertain.  These findings are the same for both children and adults.

Derrick Darden, PhD

January 18, 2008

Men in crisis (middle-age)

    By the time everyone reaches their mid-age they will have experienced some major transition in life such as a new job, a new wife, or a new child. The most commonly known major transition for middle age adults is called by many “midlife crisis,” I call it “finding one’s identity.” The famous psychologist, Carl Jung, calls this the psychological change.”  He further states, that many of our values and beliefs carried in the first half of life we should let go and face the second half unconsciously.  He suggests taking up a creative activity, such as art or writing. 


  Who goes through this midlife crisis?  Researchers point out that serious midlife problems are actually experienced by only 2 % to 5 % of middle-aged. Louis Tamir calls this period a deep-seated, self-doubts of confusion.

    Much of the evidence against the existence of widespread midlife crisis seems to me to be compelling.  For example, Costa and McCrae developed a midlife crisis scale that includes items about a sense of inner turmoil, a sense of failing power, marital dissatisfaction, and job dissatisfaction.  When they used this scale in a cross-sectional study of over 500 men ages 35-70, they concluded that there is no particular age when deep depression occurs.     The most effected ethnic group is white males and the suicide rate is higher than other subgroups, which remain high well into old age. One reason this group is affected the most is they are usually well educated and they have more extravagant dreams, according to experts.     Many couples that experience turbulence during this period, studies point to the major cause as being martial dissatisfaction.  Professional counseling seen to become the only variable remedy, couples need to talk it out and avoid the divorce courts. 

January 9, 2008

It’s not over until Obama wins!!!!

NH, is only the beginning of a highly contested run for the White House between Obama and Hill-Billy Clinton. Hillary, I feel used the old defeatist mentality (cry baby) in order to draw on the emotions of the women voters. Come on people — see through the smoke screen.

January 5, 2008

What Obama can do for America?

In my opinion, becoming the first Black President of the United States speaks loudly and exemplifies towards other nations that we condemn slavery, and the negative laws that propagated enslavement. Obama’s presidency, will not only affirm, but solidifies those States apologizing for their participation in slavery. This would be a concrete sign and declaration that America has begun the reconcillation towards a unity for all people. I believe that an Obama presidency would truly unite the message that was so eloquently penned in our Constitution that “all men are created equal.” Obama message will unite Americans concerns and common issues, such as the war in Iraq, our beleaguered economy and affordable health care for all Americans.

Some may say, is America ready for a Black President? My response to that question is was America ready for the first Black Baseball Player to enter the major leagues? The right person took on the challenge, named Jackie Robinson. Was corporate America ready for Black CEOs running multinational corporations? The right people came along and brought prosperity to these Corporations such as Aetna, American Express and Time Warner. The right people took on the challenges they were Kenneth Chenault, Ron Williams and Richard Parsons. Obama is the right person for the job at hand. As president, I believe he is the right person to rectify the numerous ills that are plaguing America.