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How to Create Autonomy in the Workplace

by Stan Mack

Managers must learn to let go of some control if they want their employees to thrive. Increasing the autonomy of your workers builds their self-esteem and also frees you to focus on other pressing aspects of your operation. For example, ceding control of a small-scale project to a trusted employee allows you to spend more time developing long-term business objectives.

Encourage Creativity

Nobody wants to be an automaton reacting mindlessly to the directives of a supervisor. Whenever possible, allow your employees to express themselves creatively. For example, don't micromanage the design of a project. Instead, allow your employees to control the design aspects and then later, if necessary, make any necessary changes to keep the project in line with your goals.

Eliminate Bureaucracy

Bureaucratic restraints can prevent employees from getting their work done. For example, if an employee must fill out a number of forms and speak with multiple people before getting approval to start a project, that employee might feel discouraged before even starting the process. Eliminating bureaucratic red tape requires a careful analysis of your operation. Monitor typical practices to identify inefficient and redundant tasks, and ask employees for feedback about how you can help expedite their work. Test the employee suggestions and make them permanent if they work.

Solicit Feedback

Employees who have proven themselves to be competent and valuable deserve more responsibility. Granting them increased authority over other employees, for example, introduces them to management scenarios while simultaneously decreasing your workload. Also, employees' job satisfaction will increase if they believe your business is helping them develop their skills and career prospects as opposed to merely exploiting their skills to serve the business’ needs.

Offer Training

The more skills and abilities your employees have, the more control they have over their own destinies. Offering training programs and other types of professional-growth opportunities will not only improve your employees' ability to perform, it will also improve their long-term prospects. As they develop their skills, you’ll be able to entrust them with greater responsibilities, including training other employees.

About the Author

Stan Mack is a business writer specializing in finance, business ethics and human resources. His work has appeared in the online editions of the "Houston Chronicle" and "USA Today," among other outlets. Mack studied philosophy and economics at the University of Memphis.

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