5 Drivers to Really Motivate Employees
January 12, 2018
Motivate your team by helping them with Mastery
January 14, 2018

Motivate your team by giving them Autonomy

Imagine you were alone in the office, no one to direct your work. What would you do? You may think it is the perfect time to tackle an important and interesting project you’ve been putting off, the kind of work that requires uninterrupted time or is cognitively demanding. You may complete the list of tiny tasks that impede your productivity or maybe tidy your desktop to clear your mind. After such a day of total autonomy, you’ll go home feeling accomplished and inspired.

In my 5 Drivers to Really Motivate Employees, I started discussing my RAMPP model for motivation. One driver, the A in the model is for autonomy. Managers often believe that the most effective way to manage is to direct people toward specific activities. That doesn’t inspire much enthusiasm, because few employees want to be told what to do and when to do something. The difference between the above scenarios is the alternative mindset of what “I want to” vs. what “I have to.”

Here are 4 ways your leaders can empower employees towards autonomy:

  1. Ask them what they want to work on that is both value-creating to the organization and interesting in some way to themselves.
  2. Discuss how they plan to work on the self-selected task, with whom, and in what way. The more control people have over their work and how it is done, the higher their sense of empowerment.
  3. Appeal to someone’s emotions. If you’re trying to motivate an employee, for example, to improve performance, share a compelling story. “In my last team an engineer once worked on a similarly idea — and the effort paid off. It is really something I see you doing well and benefitting from too.”
  4. Give team members authority. When a team member has the authority to make a decision, they will feel more empowered. If decisions they make gets reversed by their manager, the empowerment dissipates.Help your managers practice these tips or help them raise motivation and employee empowerment with our Motivating Employees Workshop.

Next up, Mastery


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Helanie Scott
Helanie Scott
Helanie (pronounced yeh-LAH-nee) Scott, CEO and founder of Align4Profit in Dallas, Texas, has driven stunning leadership and cultural transformations for an impressive list of organizations. She has mastered the ability to connect with her audiences in the boardroom, classroom, on stage, or in one-on-one coaching sessions. Helanie’s Align4Profit clients rave at the way her engaging programs freshen outdated mindsets and deliver results-oriented, aligned action.