People to People

Use thought leadership to empower your workforce

Winter 2014

By Mitchell Levy

Thought leadership is often viewed by marketers as a platform that is focused externally. But while thought leadership is an effective means of influencing customers, it's also a very successful way of empowering employees.  

Over the last decade, various organizations have shifted their policy toward encouraging employee empowerment. Studies have shown that organizations with empowered employees perform better than their competitors by up to 202 percent.

Empowered employees are known to be more engaged, inspired and productive in their work. They are more likely to take initiative and are expected to last longer within the company.

Though thought leadership is a great tool for spreading your brand message, it can also be used as an effective means of empowering your staff from inside your organization.

 An effective thought leader can have a profound effect on the people he or she influences. As a tool for change, influence has a longer lasting effect than simply giving out orders on the office floor or through email. It can refocus your organization and empower your workforce. Here are a few ways thought leadership can empower employees:

  • It allows employees to see the bigger picture of the organization by sharing the company's long-term goals and longstanding principles.
  • It encourages employees to excel at their responsibilities, inspiring them to come up with solutions that allow them to go above and beyond their roles.
  • It gives employees incentives outside of monetary gain. They understand the larger, more intangible goals of the organization: success, satisfaction and service.
  • It allows employees to discover the importance of their roles in the organization, and allows them to see the value in their actions and become proud of their accomplishments.

Thought leadership should help influence the organizational culture beyond one geared solely toward customers to one also focused on employees. The infusion of thought leadership into an organization's culture can unite and empower the organization. 

On average, only 29 percent of employees are actively engaged in their work. While managers can increase salaries, improve benefits, and promote key staff, nothing takes the place of genuine leadership.  

Thought leadership can help employees become advocates of the organization. Employers can introduce a culture of empowerment to an organization in a variety of ways--through an internal social media platform, speaking, training or other forms of internal communication.

Followers are the lifeblood of any thought leader, but followers can be found inside as well as outside of the organization. Empowered employees are the most effective followers of all. They look to their leaders for more than just their next paycheck. They look to them for inspiration and ideas.

Mitchell Levy is the CEO and thought leader architect at THiNKaha, a company that provides corporate training on thought leadership. For more information, go to


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