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14 Nov 2018, Edition - 1219, Wednesday

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Columns

Freedom to be more Productive

Archana Murthy

Greater productivity is a goal of just about every organization. There are lots of consultants/people selling productivity systems, tools and telling the organization the “right” way to increase productivity. However, many organizations implement them and still express their concerns that they could be doing “better” or “more” or that the employees aren’t living up to the images they have in their minds of what it means to be productive. On the other hand the employees often ask:

How can I multi task?
How can I get things under control?
How can I get more done?
How can I achieve more?

The definition of productivity keeps on changing from one organization to the other. You may have the best tools and systems in place but you need to communicate it to the employees by appealing to their intrinsic motivation and letting them decide how best to do the work. It is this combination of aligning people’s passion with the work they do and giving them the “FREEDOM” on how to do it that results in greater productivity.

Often people confuse independence and freedom. Let’s understand the terms a little better:

Independence

Free from outside control, not depending on others authority.

Freedom

The power or the right to act, speak or think as one wants without hindrance or resistant.

Organizations Role in providing Freedom:

Organization needs to foster a culture that provides the employees with:

1.Clarity

Defined roles and responsibilities help an individual to perform better and reduces AMBIGUITY.

2.Confidence

The defined scales/parameters for exceptional performances gives confidence and reduces UNCERTAINITY.

3.Passion

Confidence in turn churns passion which means more productivity.

Flip Side – Ambiquity>Uncertainity>Drained Passion>Low Productivity

Managers Role in Providing Freedom

1. Support — Don’t Hover

Helicopter management is as bad an idea as helicopter parenting. It feeds dependence and stifles initiative. Instead, give them the freedom to make decisions, and support them along the way.

2. Take Ownership

What happens when someone in the team fails? Is it your subordinates fault? Or your fault? If success is the result of how we work together so is failure.

3.Hear to Listen. Not to respond

Listen to the employee without being judgmental. If you disagree tell them why. Show the big picture/impact the decision, idea or behavior could have on team, department or organization instead of just saying NO.

4.Give Positive as well as Developmental Feedback

Meet your subordinates daily/weekly once. Connect with them as much as possible. Appreciate and reward them for their hard work and achievements. Make a PDP for their development.

Majorly most of the employee related issues on the organisation can be resolved by giving freedom. It may not solve everything but it definitely inculcates sense of belongingness in the employee which over the time becomes so strong that they feel honoured to be working in a an environment where passion, purpose, freedom and responsibility work together. Employees who are free to make more choices ( Choices feel like control and control is power. ) are happier, more committed to their jobs, productive and less likely to leave.

Let go, give employees more freedom, rights, and responsibilities, and see what the people you hired are capable of.

The author is Archana Murthy , Industrial psychologist

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author’s own

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