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Why Autonomy At The Office Isn't Enough

Studies have shown that autonomy, self-governance, is a crucial factor in determining how much enjoyment people derive from their work. When bureaucracy makes your efficient work inefficient, you get upset. When your boss won't let you take projects in new directions, you get upset. Eventually, a lack of autonomy creates depressed, unmotivated employees.

But it's easy for this simple truth to yield a defeatist mentality that doesn't help employees at all. Instead of anything useful, it provides a scapegoat. My work place is stifling my creativity! The bureaucracy is unbearable! This kind of attitude ignores the fact that we all have choices to make, for better or for worse.

When it comes to our work, or anything for that matter, the only way to get better is by practice, and the truth is that no work place provides enough time for practice  -- there's too much work to be done. You have to choose to practice on your own time. As much as employers need to grant autonomy at the office, employees must choose discipline at home.

The real challenge isn't finding a place to work that let's you shine (there are actually more of those than you might expect), but choosing to shine no matter where you work.

Written by Chris Allison on May 19, 2010

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Written by
Chris Allison