The 3 Expressions of Freedom at Work

Freedom at work isn’t earned, it’s unearned.

Give people freedom to do the things you hired them to do.

Treat people like the competent responsible individuals you hired – unless they prove otherwise. Freedom at work is lost by incompetence and irresponsibility.

The 3 expressions of freedom at work:

#1. Freedom at work is the authority to act without permission.

Teach people to lead, not follow.

“Use ‘I intend to …’ to turn passive followers into active leaders,” Capt. L. David Marquet, former commander of the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Santa Fe. (Turn the Ship Around)

Followers ask permission. Leaders have intention.

Permission-giving slows organizations. It may feel safe, but it’s dangers.

The next time someone asks, “Is it alright if I …” say, “Tell me what you intend to do.”

Ask, “What do I need to know?” Then, if appropriate, sign off.

#2. Freedom at work is the discretion to schedule the use of time.

Time is often controlled by others in organizational life. Higher ups schedule meetings; you attend. Customers call; you answer.

Help team members know their strengths, responsibilities, and the way to interact; after that, give freedom.

Deadlines and goals:

Deadlines control when work is completed. Give people enough information so they can establish their own deadlines.

Team goals establish individual deadlines. “When can we expect this to be done?”

#3. Freedom at work is the independence to determine how work gets done.

Encourage team members to determine the best way to serve customers.

When deadlines are outside of your control, make room for people to customize the WAY their work gets done. “How would you like to get this done?”

What expressions of freedom at work might you see?