The idea of empowering independence seems a good one. The challenge is doing it effectively.
Consider what happens in the workplace: ideally the people inside of an organization have the ability to do their job well. Sometimes this is blocked by micro-managers or even simple policies requiring approval for everything. In those situations, people step back from ownership of the work and do just what is required.
When the culture in an organization is to empower independence, the people are encouraged and rewarded for taking ownership. This means when given tasks, they are trusted to figure out how to do it and follow-through. In this scenario, the people are engaged and more productive.
Effectively empowering independence means creating a coaching culture in which instead of being told everything, the people are asked how and by when they will do the work. While this sounds simple, the reality is that it takes more time, skill, and patience to empower than it does to direct. An additional challenge is changing habits from telling to asking.
How can an organization empower independence for increased engagement and productivity? Start with coach training for the leaders and then spread the effort. After training the top leaders move to the next level and so on. Create a coaching program with internal coaches for entry level to mid—level management and external certified coaches for the top levels of management. Recognize and reward leaders when they empower their team. Track the results and reap the benefits.