The Problem:

My people are not staying, aren’t committed as they should be and don’t seem happy at work. What can I do to reverse these trends?

The Solution:

Give your people more freedom than you are comfortable with.

If you are comfortable with the amount of autonomy your people have, you have not gone far enough. The science shows that giving people more autonomy at work increases all the important metrics – job satisfaction, job performance and commitment. Greater autonomy makes people happier, more productive and provides a more resilient work environment.

You simply have to trust the science on this and be willing to experiment.

There can be no ‘formula’ for what this ‘increased autonomy’ looks like – that part you have to figure out. When it comes to your business or team, don’t ignore what the science shows – increased autonomy works better.


Discuss (with your team) what greater autonomy could look like within your environment. Let the team set some of the boundaries in expanding the levels of autonomy and be sure to discuss the responsibility and accountability that will accompany this new autonomy.

  • It might help to have actual pictures of the ‘random items’ on the desk and even a variety of representations of the same item.
  • Go with the flow and don’t give in when it might seem that things are getting ‘crazy’ or ‘off-course’. Trust in the process and those present!
  • It might help to make use of a whiteboard or flipchart as a visual graphic of things as they unfold. ‘Seeing’ some the connections helps the process. (Think of the pinboard connecting people, events, and bits of evidence that we often see in movies that are used by detectives in trying to solve a crime or mystery)

This blog post originally appeared over The Future of Work Academy

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