Can challenge and autonomy lead to a better workplace?
Over the last couple of Loop Life posts, we’ve explored how to cultivate a community and wrapped our heads around what motivates employees to be successful. In our final post on motivating employees, we take a look at how companies can stress the importance of autonomy to find the optimal challenge level for their employees in order to increase productivity and creativity.
While working effectively as a team is imperative, giving your employees the autonomy to make their own decisions is critically important for increasing their productivity and morale. Ideally, every employee was hired because of their unique set of skills. Trapping employees in tightly confined rule sets prevents them from utilizing their skills to help your organization. Apart from feeling self-determined and in control, employees can benefit from an autonomous culture by having the versatility to be creative within the scope of their work. Another benefit of an autonomous culture is that managers can then trust their team to independently push their personal limits while maintaining a unified vision. By allowing their subordinates the autonomy to work independently, yet within a strong community network, employees can begin to maximize their potential.
What happens when you start to challenge your employees within your autonomous environment?
Everyone knows that just working for a paycheck is a one way road to burnout, misery, and eventually leaving the company, so it’s up to managers to assign their employees with projects that challenge them. If you can then frame those projects as an opportunity for your employee to develop one of her talents, not only will she take up the challenge, but she’ll be excited to work on it because you were able to align her passion with your needs.
Being excited and passionate about your work stems in large part from being able to reach a “flow” state of mind. When you are doing work that meets your criteria for autonomy and challenge, it can feel like you’ve become entranced by the work you’re doing. The famed psychologist Mihaley Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of “flow” states that people are happiest when they are in a state of “flow” and often lose track of their surroundings because of the intense enjoyment of solely doing the task at hand. This is when people achieve the ideal highly focused mental state where they can autonomously challenge themselves.
One of the factors needed to reach this state is having sufficient autonomy in order for employees to feel in control of their actions. By allowing your employees the autonomy to work independently yet within a strong community network, they can begin to maximize their potential.
What can you Do?
If you are in an organization that does not provide the type of motivation that drives you, it is your responsibility to push your own boundaries and self-educate to increase your knowledge base. Resources for personal growth can be peers, literature, podcasts, conversations or new hands on experience — the list is endless. If you are in a position of influence at your organization, a continuing education platform can also be organized and implemented. Whether that is in the form of training, certifications or a mentorship program, companies can foster a great environment by giving their employees resources to grow. Leaders should strive to create a forward thinking environment based on new technologies and new research because they realize that change drives growth and productivity. Most importantly, you must know yourself and find out what exactly motivates you.
Here is one of our favorite tools that we use at Metric Loop to evaluate our personal behaviors.
QUEST: Quick Enneagram Sorting Test This test was created by the Enneagram Institute and states your three most dominant personality types. It’ll take approximately 10 minutes to complete.
Originally published at metricloop.com on April 8, 2016.