In my work with hundreds of professionals, I have come to a conclusion: People want a sense of control at work. It’s the Autonomy piece that Daniel Pink refers to in his famous TED talk. Stephen Covey called it Interdependence. A professional who takes charge of his or her own leadership and is in a mutually beneficial relationship with their employer – that is an ideal worth pushing for.
From the organization side, there’s a glitch. Bosses may try giving employees a chance at autonomy, then instead of using failure as a learning moment, they take the autonomy away. Employees won’t stay motivated for long if they have good intention and then are made to be “wrong” because their action is not perfect. And for a team to be greater than the sum of its parts, the parts must be working to potential.
Because I believe that strong teams start with strong individual performance, I say that we need to put the I’s back in team. When team members know their positive Impact on the team, they gain confidence. When they have tools of Influence, they can navigate their boundaries and feel a sense of control. And when they can feel safe taking Initiative, they gain the resilience that comes from experience. Organizations can then harness individual talent for a whole new level of collaboration…innovation…competitiveness in the market…and results. Everybody wins.
Spring is in the air, with renewed focus and energy. It’s a great time to shake out the winter and re-align the team.