Seed Autonomy

Leadership is not defined by the exercise of power but by the capacity to increase the sense of power among those led.

Motivation requires freedom of choice and an environment where every opinion counts. Therefore, it is very closely related to the self-image of the leader and his behavior towards employees. If you are a leader, you cannot empower others without giving up some of your own authority. They must exchange the old currency of power – perks, decision rights, and sanctions – for new coins – wisdom, generosity, and mentorship.

  • Hand over some of the responsibility – this is another reason, in addition to short decision-making paths, that decisions should be made at as low a level in the hierarchy as makes sense.
  • Create a climate where everyone seeks advice from others and you influence each other.
  • Encourage employees to address their own interests, engage in joint problem solving, negotiate, compromise, and seek a common solution.
Gary Hamel, for example, describes very concrete ways to relinquish authority and encourage the development of autonomous trade:
  • Set direction, e.g. ask your team to define their common mission.
  • Build skills, e.g. Ask team members to name areas where they would like to build new skills – creative problem solving or any other field
  • Organise work, e.g. give your team the authority to reassign work tasks.
  • Manage performance, e.g. ask team members if they think they have the right performance goals. If not, ask them to suggest alternatives.
  • Share information, e.g. Help frontline team members better understand the strategic measures and screens that business unit or corporate leaders use to assess organizational effectiveness.