4 Ways Leadership Promote Autonomy in the Workplace

  • December 26, 2019
Brainstorming solution discussion of young business people in of

What are the ways to establish autonomy within the workplace?

  1. Justify the “Why” of the Goal
  2. Ask Employees Suggestions on “How” to Reach the Goal
  3. Teach Your Employees Intrinsic Motivation
  4. Give Employees a Sense of Ownership

The leader plays a key role in incorporating processes and executing strategies to achieve goals. With this, promising leaders and protégés go through only the best six sigma training in the Philippines in order to refine their capabilities. Leaders have the power to shape the workplace and the ability to promote autonomy. It is an essential element in building the engagement between the employees.

Justify the “Why” of the Goal

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The first order of establishing autonomy in the office is to be transparent about the “why.” As a leader, you need to let your employees understand why: “Why such a goal?” “Why does the task assigned have any value to them?”, “Why them and not others?”. More often than not, leaders tend to assign tasks without even taking the time to explain their importance or give the employee a chance to ask questions.

From the perspective of employees, they would generally perform better if they were informed of a particular objective’s importance. When they have knowledge of how crucial the task is, they will be encouraged to think outside the box and beyond its corners.

Ideally, well-informed employees increase the productivity of an organization. When everyone recognizes why something should be completed, they will take the initiative to get it done. This way, all employees including the management are autonomously working.

Ask Employees Suggestions on “How” to Reach the Goal

Establishing autonomy in the workplace does not stop at simply informing the employees of the “whys.” Instead, it should be followed by “how.” The process is straightforward. Assign tasks, let employees know the important “whys”, then finally, involve them in trying to find the most ideal “hows.” This is where Six Sigma enters the scene again. Leaders must be able to introduce processes that will lead to only the best and most accurate results.

While expecting employees to recognize the “hows” or leaving it for them to discover on their own promotes independence, it does not establish autonomy. The goal is to shift the foundation of the organization towards autonomy. This can only be achieved by involving everyone in the planning. By allowing employees to just “do it on their own” without any voice in the process, there is no autonomy.

Teach Your Employees Intrinsic Motivation

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Besides the rewards you give to your employees, you should be able to integrate intrinsic value within them to promote autonomy in the workplace. When an employee possesses the will to succeed by refining their processes, they are stimulated by the goal to improve oneself. They are prompted to perform with a strong urge to succeed because of personal reasons. Intrinsic motivation is also what makes employees enjoy their jobs.

While extrinsic motivation is exceedingly common in the workplace, it does not establish a firm foundation of autonomy. Employee performance varies, it is only proper to reward those who excelled among the others. While autonomy is related to self-determination, not all employees are up to the challenge of competing against one another. One of the goals of maintaining an autonomous workplace is to keep everyone involved, satisfied, and free to think. An atmosphere that is profoundly influenced by competition is not an ideal setting for a workplace.

Thus, motivation through intrinsic value is more suitable to promote autonomy in the workplace and maximize the individual capabilities of each employee.

Give Employees a Sense of Ownership

Arguably, the ultimate way to promote autonomy in the workplace is by ingraining a sense of ownership within each of the employees. Encouraging your employees to possess a sense of ownership is also directing them to exercise initiative and accountability when it comes to their work. Initiative and accountability work together just like the left and right brain. Without the other functioning well, the whole system is bound to be dysfunctional. An employee takes ownership when he or she believes that initiating the action is not someone else’s responsibility.

When employees have embodied the sense of ownership, they will always be reminded of the liability put on their shoulders. No matter the negative results of a decision, if they have the tenacity over their tasks, they will firmly stand to face the consequences.

Key Takeaway

There are many changes in the workplace when it comes to applying different leadership styles. The kind of workplace culture becomes unique for each company depending on its organizational goals. Autonomy in the workplace means involving employees in the planning process and enabling them to be independent at guided levels.

In the Philippines, Six Sigma Training is integrated into every leadership program to teach individuals that success is the product of nearly perfected processes. Leaders who take these principles account are able to promote autonomy effectively because they know the importance of the “whys”, “hows”, intrinsic motivation, and each person’s sense of ownership.