“Motivating Self and Others” was unanimously on top of the list when I asked the participants of my Leadership Master Class, a group coaching course for senior managers, what subject they wanted to work on.
Start with yourself. What motivates you at work? What demotivates you?
Do you like being told what to do? Do you enjoy if someone else “knows” and tells you what is best for you?
Or do you prefer doing things “your way” to achieve the best possible result?
Daniel H. Pink says in his great book “Drive” that autonomy is a key motivational factor for human beings. Autonomy as the freedom to decide what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and with who to do it.
How much of this freedom do you have at work? As a boss, how much freedom do you give your employees?
My work requires a lot of office work. The picture above shows you how my office today looks like. Benjasiri Park in Bangkok, Thailand. Fresh air, lots of green, sounds of nature. Adding the strong coffee from the small roadside shop makes it a perfect, inspiring place to work. Here and now I am at my best.
Are you allowed to be at your best at work? Do you allow your staff to work at their perfect place at their perfect times?
For me, the perfect place and time is different every day. Sometimes it’s in the park, at other times in a coffee shop, or my home office.
In my previous corporate job I was certainly not at my best when I was expected to spent most of the time at a fixed desk during fixed times (weekdays 8 a.m .- 6 p.m. Does that sound familiar?). And when I look at offices today, I can see that many other people are not at their best either.
The reality is that most employees with office jobs are forced to be at their desks at almost all times. Eight hours or so every working day. Expected to function like robots.
The reality is that this does not work. Walk through an office and observe how many people surf Facebook, chat with colleagues, or pretend to be busy. And there is nothing wrong with that. Because humans are not just resources, not robots you switch on in the morning to work continuously and efficiently for the next eight hours.
What’s wrong is the idea of forcing people into boxes, forcing people into time-frames irrespective of their individual needs.
This enforcement of “eight hours at the desk work” is a symptom of an underlying disease: lack of trust! Managers don’t trust their employees. Managers try to control employees by controlling their time and their whereabouts. Instead of empowering and enabling employees to bring out the best in them, bosses treat their staff like children. The result is that the children are present at the workplace, but not necessarily productive.
Effective 21st century leaders trust their employees. They trust that they have recruited the right people, and that giving them autonomy will bring out the best in them. Instead of micromanaging tasks and time, effective leaders manage expectations and turn into autonomy supporters for their staff. Instead of telling people what to do, they encourage, empower, and enable individuals to take ownership and deliver results.
Weak managers fear that employees will abuse the freedom. But this is rarely the case. Instead employees feel more energized and committed when they feel trusted and supported.
Does it matter to you where, how, and when your people work as long as the desired result is achieved? Would my projects add more value to my clients when I designed them wearing a suit in an office compared to wearing shorts while working it in the park? I know better what works for me than anybody else does.
Coaching questions for you:
- What does autonomy at work mean for you?
- How does a lack of freedom affect you at work?
- Do you believe you have recruited the right people and do you trust them?
- What would happen if you gave them more autonomy about how and when they work?
- How could a first step towards more autonomy and empowerment look like in your organization?
Do you want to experience the Power of Autonomy and enjoy the results? Do you want to learn how to motivate your team? Then contact me now for an individual consultation :
phone: +66-2 107 2025
More on motivation: see What the Best Leaders Do to Motivate their Teams