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Home » Leadership

Empowerment in Thailand

Submitted by on Thursday, 20 January 2011One Comment

Empowerment is a big issue in Thailand, and given the way the nation and its culture have developed, we can understand why.

But ask Thai employees whether they feel empowered,  and many will say they do not.

So what can Thai companies and managers do to promote empowerment and avoid the trap described in orange axis in the graphic below?



Every company has its mix of ‘micromanagers’ who overmanage, and ‘laissez faire’ managers who undermanage. But how can managers get this balance right? After all, the job of a manager is exactly this – to ensure his or her time maximises the productivity of  his or her direct reports, team members and stakeholders.

Time to use a Script

One of the most effective ways managers can improve their performance is by using a script. Too few managers manage deliberately. Instead, they manage ‘on the fly’, with no real discipline.

The result can be erratic behaviour, phases of overmanagement or undermanagement, or just a ‘stuck in the rut’ management style where micromanagement may be the norm.

Both undermanagement and overmanagement can leave employees feeling unempowered.

Empowerment in Bangkok, Thailand

The way managers can break out of this cycle is by taking a more deliberate approach and seeing management as a professional skill.

One of the skills participants learn in our It’s Okay to be the Boss workshop is that of practising using a script for ‘coaching conversations’.

This is a great way to clear the lines of communication, break old unproductive habits, and empower your Thai employees.

For example, one conversation would follow like this:

‘Here’s what I know. Please tell me what I don’t know. Then let’s agree what we’re going to do next.’

Depending on the level of empowerment the manager may want to give, this agreement could include deadlines, milestones, ‘check-ins’ or updates, or simply an outcome and completion date.

Making empowerment a deliberate practise enables managers to adapt to an employee’s working style. One employee may like regular supervision and lots of feedback, while another might prefer minimal managerial interference and a good deal of flexibility. Understanding these working styles is at the heart of empowerment (also covered in our Personality Factor programme).

What you can do to promote Empowerment in your company

If you are determined to break the over- and under- management dilemma and really promote empowerment in your company in Thailand, then our It’s Okay to Be the Boss management training workshop is a great way of doing so.

With easy-to-follow practises described above, It’s Okay to Be the Boss gives managers the tools to get the balance between under- and over-managing right, become more performance coach than performance drag, and discover how to empower his or her Thai colleagues every day!


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