Autonomy at work is a valued skill that is regularly found in job advertisements. Indeed, autonomy can be a source of productivity and a certain freedom at work. However, it can have its limits, especially when it is confused with the notion of independence.
Autonomy and independence at work: what’s the difference?
We speak of autonomy at work when an employee has the ability to act on elements of the task that he or she must accomplish (rhythm, organization, procedure, choice of means, tools, etc.). It therefore allows greater freedom to carry out a mission.
Autonomy is highly popular today, particularly in the context of occasional, partial or total telework and more generally to promote team efficiency.
However, between an autonomous team and a team abandoned by its managers, there is only one step. It is not uncommon to confuse autonomy and independence. Independence at work amounts to extracting oneself completely from the collective, which slows down or even prevents exchanges and mutual aid. An independent collaborator seeks not to depend on anyone, to carry out a project alone. Conversely, an autonomous employee understands how others can add value to the project. He/she thus knows when and how to turn to resource persons to make the mission grow.
Autonomy and independence at work are therefore two very different things.
The conditions of autonomy
It is the manager’s responsibility to bring together the necessary conditions and promote autonomy at work. This indeed needs a framework to be useful and effective.
It depends in particular on:
- goals to achieve ;
- skills of the collaborator. Indeed, entrusting a task or a mission to a person who does not yet have the skills to carry it out is counterproductive. However, this can be extremely motivating and rewarding for her if she is well accompanied and/or if she works in pairs with a more experienced person. She will thus gain herself in skills and development prospects.
- available tools and resources. It is absolutely necessary to give an employee the necessary means to succeed in his or her mission. Without this, the project runs towards its failure and you risk losing a talent by demotivating him/her.
One could also think that the autonomy of a person depends on his motivation. However, it is interesting to underline that autonomy represents a real motivating factor. Indeed, the autonomy granted to employees is only a reflection of the trust placed in them, which naturally motivates the teams to engage effectively. While improving employee well-being, psychosocial risks are reduced and the organization’s performance is boosted.
When implemented correctly, more flexible forms of work organization can foster a great atmosphere within the company and create remarkable team dynamics. If you also want to develop a logic of autonomy and trust in a framework sufficiently mastered to be effective and sustainable, do not hesitate to contact us. We will make sure to provide you with solutions that are perfectly adapted to your context and your situation.