While top-down management styles worked well in the past, business has changed along with old-school attitudes, making autocratic settings less attractive to many workers. Many self-motivated employees cringe at the thought of micro-management, which often slows down their work flow and reduces productivity. When you add mandatory meetings that have nothing to do with their given tasks to the mix, it can lead to frustration, dissatisfaction, and lowered morale. For these reasons, potential employees with more of an entrepreneurial spirit may find themselves jumping ship to escape a work culture that hinders rather than fosters their unique talents. It’s important for employers to capture and maintain a vital, autonomous, and independent workforce. Consider the benefits of creating a company culture and collaborative work setting that plays to the strengths of your workers.
Advantages of Autonomy
Self-driven employees with more autonomy tend to stress less, taking breaks when they need them and pushing themselves without micro-management. While some jobs work best with set standards and best practices in play, including accounting, bookkeeping, and regulatory compliance, jobs that require creativity work better when you take loose reins. By setting performance goals and expectations with no one-true path for employees achieving them, you give them room to innovate and create new ways of doing things. This means that independent workers can possibly provide results the impact your entire business, boosting efficiency and productivity in even employees that require more hands-on management. Also, you spend less time worrying about self-motivated workers, as they tend to come to you with issues or problems, especially when you set an open-door communication policy.
Attracting Self-Motivated Workers
Setting up an independent workplace culture means attracting self-motivated workers. To do this, make sure your job advertisements stress that you’re seeking people who are driven and self-motivated. When you’re interviewing, ask questions that can showcase the potential employee’s goals and expectations, then seek information about their time-management skills and how well they work in a solo setting. To attract these types of workers to your company going forward, consider offering opportunities for growth, such as classes that improve upon existing skills, mentors to help new workers get used to their new workplace, and flex-time or the option to work from home one or more days per week.
To foster a work environment that encourages independence, you must set the tone with loads of trust and support. This means clearly expressing your expectations and following up regularly on set goals. Give employees freedom with their personal workstations so they can feel comfortable, and don’t fret if they spend time talking with co-workers, as collaboration in an inclusive work setting often stokes the creative fires. If you feel like workers take too much liberty with the freedom you give them, address the issue one-on-one in a non-combative way, and give them room to improve and the support needed to do so.
Handling Missteps and Failures
As with direct management, independent workers inevitably experience missteps and failure. The key thing to remember is to see these events as training and move on without stressing too much. By setting boundaries and encouraging open communication, you and your employees can often turn these blunders into at least semi-successes and learn things in the process. To motivate workers to get past missteps, put incentives in place that reward success and provide the tools they need to achieve at their best levels.
While it may seem counterintuitive to give employees leeway to take risks with your business, these sorts of leaps can put you ahead of the pack when compared to competition that holds on to old approaches. By giving your workers the freedom to try and fail, you also reap their potential successes and foster a happy workforce with lowered stress levels and higher morale.