12 Ways to Outgrow Oppressive Environments
Rules, restrictions, and hierarchy make us small.
Greatness assumes freedom.
Men and women languish under oppression and die for freedom. Yet, organizations often cling to heavy-handed methods to get things done.
5 benefits of freedom:
- Energy to face challenging obstacles, rather than walk away.
- Fulfillment while working hard on things that matter.
- Sacrifice for things that express purpose.
- Commitment to stick together when times are tough.
- Risk-taking when outcomes are important and choices impact results.
Free choices are more powerful than coerced decisions.
12 ways to outgrow oppressive environments:
- Emphasize values when extending freedom. Set people free, only when they’re dedicated to serve each other. Restrain or remove those who serve themselves at the expense of others.
- Strengthen connections. Freedom leads to isolation, when competent people forget how to play together. Disconnection drains energy. We’re stronger when we pull with others.
- Establish goals that matter to yourself and others. Describe the win?
- Create a playing field with boundary lines. Liberty isn’t license and freedom isn’t a free-for-all. Boundaries set us free to perform in useful ways. (Some rules and restrictions are helpful.)
- Invite feedback and input, persistently. Ask, “What do you think?” Pay attention to each other’s responses.
- Evaluate performance to agreed upon standards, frequently. Winners want to know if they’re winning.
- Confront mediocrity. How is this our best? How can we do better?
- Embrace transparency. Secrets offend freedom and disrespect teammates.
- Share success stories and lessons learned.
- Give authority to control schedules. If you want them to own their job, let them control their schedule. Freedom and flexibility go hand-in-hand.
- Create options – give choices.
- Eliminate hierarchy – expect responsibility.
What does freedom at work look like?
How much freedom can you give at work and still get things done?
Always appreciate your insights and thoughts. Challenged each day to improve
Thanks John. I’m challenged too. 🙂
Nicely framed, solid ideas. It would be interesting to see more leaders embrace this kind of belief system, but there is always that fear of loss of control inherent in how so many “leaders” lead. Easier to control and “manage” people, it would seem.
A great list for consideration, though. Wouldn’t it be nice…
Thanks Dr. Scott. I wonder if leaders might allow more freedom if we exposed and worked to answer the fears we feel about freedom?
Very solid advice – as always, Dan!!! #4 caught my attention particularly: “Create a playing field with boundary lines. Liberty isn’t licence and freedom isn’t a free-for-all. Boundaries set us free to perform in useful ways. (Some rules and restrictions are helpful.)”
The use of ‘create’ implies choice – and that’s good!!! But choices can be good or bad. Our Considerations help us to make good ones. As you note, ‘Liberty isn’t licence and freedom isn’t a free-for-all.’ The choices open choices of approaches within those boundaries. Makes perfect sense AS LONG AS the initial choices are informed ones: Addressing true objective while carefully considering options!!!
Thanks John. I’m glad you noticed the term “create.” I used it in the spirit of participation and collaboration, not declaration.
Your focus on informed choices is powerful and reiterates the importance of transparency and competency.
Freedom at work looks like enthusiasm, commitment and healthy interactions. When people feel free to express their idea, they feel good. Freedom at work is like trust building process that helps every one to be part of one family. And this feeling of family makes lot of difference. People feel enthusiastic to put more effort.
You have rightly suggested. Leaders should confront mediocrity and invite feedback. Such feedback should be used constructively to improves the process and situations. Embracing transparency is a powerful concept. And it needs courage and leadership integrity. People not have integrity can not have courage to be transparent.
In every organisation, there are people who are opportunist in taking credit of others. When work is group related, they go before to take credit. So, in such cases, it is important to fix accountability. Fixing individual accountability can find better solution to it.
Thank you Dr. Gupta. Adding trust building to this topic is not only important, it’s essential. If we don’t dare to be transparent, we can’t feel free. In this case, freedom is permission to be honest and responding with openness and humility when we don’t like what we hear.
“People not have integrity can not have courage to be transparent.”
“12.Eliminate hierarchy – expect responsibility.” Spot on! Nothing kills inspiration and drive, or builds secrecy and isolation like a hierarchy – except perhaps management by committee!
Hierarchies are also very good at assigning responsibility without providing authority, or in other words, administering blame!
Thanks Mitch. Your comment has a feel of sarcasm that makes me chuckle with enjoyment. “Management by committee,” cracks me up.
Sadly, it seems that one goal of hierarchy is preserving itself at all costs.
Dan, not sarcasm, experience! Management by commitee is something I’m sure you’ve seen – a group of managers, all with an agenda, and nothing advances except what they all compromise on,which is usually not very much.
As far as hierarchy protecting itself, read Norman Tebbit’s comments regarding how the “establishment” in the UK was more concerned with securing its position than protecting vulnerable children. It’s chilling.
I’ve never heard this explained more succinctly. I’ve dealt with management by committee and when one person is protecting their turf instead of advancing the organization, everything grinds to a halt.
Dan, you really are ‘consistently consistent” with the quality of your posts. Thanks for this.
Emphasize values when extending freedom. Set people free, only when they’re dedicated to serve each other.
*Restrain or remove those who serve themselves at the expense of others. *
*What if it is the director that is serving themselves at the expense of others ???*