Do You Want Autonomy at Work? Learn to Be Your Leader
Self-Leadership is the next big thing.
Many of us may want to become or remain managers, lead other people and teams. But we forget that we are already managers - of our person. And most of the time this is the most difficult task!
Individual Leadership is a challenging concept.
It awakens the idea of taking responsibility. Responsibility for our path in life, personal development, work environment, and the reactions we have to our daily experiences.
When we look for reasons, circumstances, or culprits on the outside, we move away from the real cause of the problem. Should we use an imaginary "mirror" more often and ask ourselves - what have I done to ask for the direction of support I need?
How did I negotiate my autonomy or authority at work so that I could have the motivating work environment I want?
How serious and consistent have I been on my growth path? How open and trustworthy have I been to build strong partnerships with others?
Neither responsibility nor these self-analysis questions are easy - and sometimes we tend to avoid them. They require a high degree of maturity and honesty - first and foremost with yourself.
The interesting part is that once you step on this path, things start to look less difficult. Once you accept your vulnerability and need to grow, start looking for solutions and outside support.
Autonomy does not mean individualism
I would like to dwell a little on the concept of asking for support and how we can do this concretely. And in everyday life, we depend on those around us, but maybe sometimes in the speed with which we carry out our activity, we tend to forget this.
We need autonomy, which is very important for each of us, as Daniel Pink points out in his book "Drive." Autonomy, as defined by Pink, refers to the ability to choose how you conduct your business: what you do, when, how, and with whom you perform your tasks.
But autonomy is not equal to individualism; it involves effective interaction with others.
And then the question is - how to manage healthily or sustainably the relationships with those around us, with the manager, with colleagues, and those close to us to achieve our goals? To follow the path we have chosen?
How you act depending on the situation
Ken Blanchard teaches us to approach every moment in a situational way depending on the level of competence and commitment:
The enthusiastic beginner
In the "Enthusiastic Beginner" stage on a certain task, it is necessary to be aware of the lack of experience, the possible transferable content, and the high motivation you have.
Now it is important to ask for guidance from the manager or other people who have the necessary expertise. That is, to find out what, how, and when to do it.
Get support in setting priorities, accept close monitoring and ask for constant feedback to make progress.
Here it is important that the goals are motivating - to provide energy (read "fuel") along the way to performance.
In the "Disillusioned Student" stage (D2), when you do not yet have the competence and the initial commitment has decreased, it is important, even essential, to find resources that will remind you what the purpose of that activity is.
How it relates to your long-term goals, personal vision (if any!). In this way, you will be able to access the intrinsic motivation that can bring you energy and creativity.
This way you have a better chance of overcoming these difficult moments when you feel overwhelmed, confused, or disappointed. You may also need to re-contract with your manager - to clarify direction - goals and how to achieve them.
Here you also need people who will listen to you, who can create a space for dialogue and consultation, you need people who will encourage you for the small progress made and who can give you feedback, who will praise you for the steps taken in the process. for studying.
You need a manager or colleagues to share your experience, who will help you find solutions to problems.
Capable but insecure performer
In the stage called "Able but insecure performer" (D3) - you already have above-average competence, but your confidence or motivation fluctuates, they are variable. Here it is important to gradually get space to make decisions.
How do you do that? Using a mature attitude: you come up with solutions and proposals, not just problems. And slowly you will gain credibility, respect, and more freedom from the decision-maker so far.
In addition to this, you need a space in which to be listened to, in which to experiment, to "gain courage" as you strengthen your competence. Find a coach - at work or elsewhere - to help you with this. You do not need solutions, but a framework in which to find them yourself.
Capitalize on past successes to move forward. Find the moments when you are in "flow", that is, you are full of enthusiasm, you do things with pleasure, time simply disappears and try to multiply these moments. But most of all, don't give up! Go back to the diary pages you started with and anchor yourself in the initial motivation.
The independent professional
In the "Independent Professional" stage you might think you don't need anything anymore. You are already an expert! But is your perception of the level of competence (high) the same as that of your manager?
This matters to be able to truly gain autonomy from him. That is why it is important to show and communicate in an assertive way what level of development you are in and how you want to approach that situation.
Here the "crutches" are almost gone, but if you go to the ceiling they can appear again. How can you find opportunities or people to challenge you to always learn? Pink says that mastery is like an asymptote - you never really touch it.
Now you can start teaching others
This way you will avoid the routine or fatigue that may occur. Instead, you will discover the pleasure of helping, of contributing, in parallel with your efforts to continually improve yourself.
We notice that at every level of development we need people around us to ask for direction or encouragement. To a greater or lesser extent, depending on the situation we are in.
It is up to us to make sure that our relationships with those around us are of a quality that will allow us to ask for that support when the time comes.
I conclude with a few questions that I had time to meditate on these days and to which I invite you to reflect:
How much do we invest in our relationships with our loved ones in an environment that focuses on results, speed, and efficiency?
How do we know how to create space and time for ourselves and those around us - so that we can grow and evolve?