Autonomy is the ability to make an un-coerced decision. In the work environment, autonomy is the ability to operate in a “Want To” culture. As leaders, we can threaten autonomy by overusing our positional power. This overuse of power creates a “my way or the highway” approach, with little respect or consideration of staff.
This transparency creates a sense of autonomy and increases their ownership to the outcome. They truly feel accountable for the task and demonstrate higher levels of dedication, resilience and accountability as they strive for excellence.
When we create this “Want to” culture, it may seem that we are letting everything go to chance that our staff will do the right thing, that we have empowered them to do what they want. The reality is that we are holding them accountable for the outcome (the performance), so instead of a push by micromanaging, it is a pull of clarity of outcomes and transparency of the “why.” This creates legitimate power: the power our staff give us, and that is the power that allows us to have real control, as we get the outcome we want – successful completion of the task.
As a leader, Connect the Dots by providing a clear vison of success and a strong “why” and then get out of the way. This level of Autonomy allows the staff to bring their own energy and accountability to the task at hand.