How would you like a team full of loyal, enthusiastic employees who are eager to help you achieve your organization’s mission?
Last month, we discussed the importance of exercising your personal freedom through saying ‘no,’ letting go of what’s holding you back and ending relationships that no longer serve you.
This month, we’re going to discuss how you can extend this concept of personal freedom or autonomy to your employees and team members.
While it may seem counterintuitive to give your employees more leeway and freedom to be themselves, when you do so, you’ll have happier, more productive employees who are loyal to your organization and look forward to working for you.
Ready to unleash your employee’s inner rock stars?
While employees need to understand expectations and responsibilities, and many crave the structure provided by their manager, all employees appreciate the opportunity to contribute their opinion and have a say in how they carry out their roles.
Let’s take a look at four areas where you can empower your employees with autonomy.
Freedom to Make Decisions
No one likes to be micromanaged. Yet, most companies require their frontline employees to alert management to every issue and look to them for solutions and approval. Imagine how much more productive they would be (and how much more free time you’d have) if they were able to make decisions and carry them out without your input.
First, develop a clear mission, vision, and set of guidelines for them to operate within. Then, empower them to provide solutions to customers in the moment. Finally, stand by their decisions and back them up when a situation arises.
Freedom to Share Ideas
There are some management styles that demand you to dictate to your employees rather than taking their ideas into consideration. While this may work for some, in general, it will breed resentment in your team. Employees are more invested when they have a say in creating policies, and you may be surprised to discover how many wonderful ideas your people will provide if given the opportunity.
Encourage employees to share what’s on their minds, including providing feedback on existing ideas, and introducing entirely new ideas to your organization. Listen to them, fairly evaluate their contributions, and give credit when credit is due. If an idea doesn’t pan out, use it as a learning experience for the individual and the team rather than throwing them under the bus.
Freedom to Grow
The days of employees taking a job and then staying in that role for the duration of their careers are over. Individuals want to learn, grow, and move up the ladder within your organization. If they are not given that opportunity, they’ll find a new place to work.
Provide growth and learning opportunities for your employees. This can look like an internal library where employees can borrow personal and professional development books, training classes, leadership mentorship, team-building events, and much more.
Freedom of Flexibility
During the lockdown, employees got a taste of autonomy. They worked from home, often working different hours and having the freedom to take time during the day to attend to family commitments. Now that the lockdown is over and the pandemic has reached a manageable level, many businesses are requiring employees to return to their old schedules and locations. Many believe that this is contributing to the “Great Resignation” with employees quitting left and right.
Consider this… were your employees productive and successful working from home? Most were. They not only got their work done, but they did so efficiently and had more time for the things that really matter, ie: family. If the work got done during COVID, consider allowing your employees to work from home all the time or at least part of the time.
You’ve hired the best possible candidates to be a part of your team. Now, empower them to have control over their roles and their futures within your organization. Giving your employees the gift of personal freedom will create happier, more loyal team members and a more successful business.