Autonomy–Your Employees Deserve Some

In the blog, 4 Employee Wants and Needs, I discussed respect, communication, expectations and autonomy as critical issues for employees. I went into more depth on respect in Respect–A Great Starting Point. I looked at communication in Communication–People Thrive On It. A third element, expectations was discussed in Expectations–People Can’t Read Your Mind. Now let’s look at the last item in the list, autonomy, which brings it all together.

Why Does Autonomy Bring It All Together!

Here are four questions for you:

  1. Have you ever worked for someone who constantly micromanaged you, looked over your shoulder, questioned your every action, and continuously intervened to make sure you did everything exactly as they would?
  2. If the answer to question 1 is yes, how did that make you think and feel?
  3. Again, if the answer to number 1 is yes, did you start to wonder just why you were needed?
  4. Assuming the yes answer, did this eventually change the way you approached your work and damage your attitude?

In those four questions is the clue to why autonomy brings it all together.

People Are Not Dummies

Let’s assume that you have clearly communicated your expectations, received feedback, made necessary adjustments based on the feedback, and established routines for follow-up. What do you think would be the best way for you to be respectful of your employees? I suggest that a primary way would be to grant them a reasonable amount of autonomy in performing their roles. After all, they are not dummies, and you hired them because they apparently had the skills and abilities you needed.

Granted, you may gradually grant that autonomy, but be sure you intend to do so and follow through. Failure to grant this will result in the micromanaging, looking over the shoulder, questioning of every action and constant intervention mentioned above. What eventually will happen is you will have employees who stop thinking, hate their job, wonder why they are there, and eventually leave one way or another.

Play Your Role

Just as your employees have their roles and want to operate with some autonomy, you also need to consider exactly what your role is. You provide guidance, establish an efficient and appropriate level of feedback needed from employees, and offer input when it is clear they need it or ask for it. If you have mutual respect and treat your employees like adults, they are much more likely to come to you when they really need input. On the other hand, if you control their every move they become more like robots, and you will be forced to make every decision – not exactly the best environment for growing your company.

If you want to know more, contact AimCFO – Contact

As always, your comments are welcomed.

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