Freedom In The Workplace – Employee Engagement


It’s probably easier for a boss in a big organisation to wax lyrical about empowering their employees and allowing them discretion and autonomy than it is for bosses who actually own their businesses. The vast majority of employees work for organisations with ten or fewer employees. They’re run by owner-operators for the most part. For that kind of boss, letting go is more than just following the advice of some leadership book (or YouTube clip) they’ve seen. It’s way more personal and risky and impactful if it goes wrong. Nonetheless, there are a lot of advantages in granting greater freedom and autonomy to your frontline people to make decisions and guide their own workplace behaviours. IF (and it’s a big ‘if’) you’ve recruited the right people, if you’ve inducted them properly, if you’ve consistently and clearly clarified the non-negotiables, if you’ve got systems in place to measure and feedback, and if you’ve fenced off the areas where autonomy doesn’t apply – workplace safety and legal things for example.  (I said ti was a big IF…)

The problem is that many bosses hear that autonomy is a driver of employee engagement so they just let people loose. That’s not autonomy; That’s abdication. Get the structures and disciplines in place first. Hire the right people who fit. Then try out and iteratively increase discretion. It can boost innovation, reciprocity and loyalty from your team. But there are those risks too and risks need to be managed. Here’s an article about it that I didn’t write.

About Terry Williams - The Brain-Based Boss

I'm all about engaging people and helping you engage yours to influence behaviour to improve results - at work and at home. Maybe you're a manager, a salesperson, a leader, a parent, a presenter or an event organiser? You need to grab your people's attention, create some rapport, be memorable and influence behaviour change. How can we do that? I'm originally a trainer by trade, turned manager, turned comedian and partway back again. Author of 'THE GUIDE: How to kiss, get a job & other stuff you need to know', I write and speak about how to engage people, be they employees, family or yourself. How can we connect with people’s own internal motivations and help them use their own inner passions to drive towards productivity, success and happiness? And hopefully have a few laughs along the way... As a trainer facilitating learning and development in others, I find myself drawing on my own extensive business experience. I specialise in the delivery of high impact, customised training solutions for organisations that are serious about improving the performance and lives of their people.

Posted on September 15, 2014, in Employee Engagement, Team Building and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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