While several nations are celebrating their independence from foreign rule every year, the same cannot be said for the superimposition of various factors on people in workplaces.
Employees also deserve freedom and independence from the command-and-control structures that are still very pervasive in corporate culture today. Here are some of the questions that need to be addressed to maintain freedom in order to build more trust in corporate cultures.
● Does the workplace allow employees to process and share feedback that relate to performance across all levels of the organization?
● Does the workplace sufficiently allow employees to become confident in themselves and empowered?
● Does the workplace facilitate the articulation of varied opinions of employees amongst each other and with leadership?
For an employee, there are many ways (including the ones stated above) by which freedom can be ensured. Some of the ways mentioned above are to ensure a positive impact on the organization’s culture and the employee’s well-being. However, the others are to ensure that the elements of freedom relate to the individual freedom of the people and may or may not be relevant to the organization they work for.
Leaders need to realize that freedom is a powerful tool that should be ensured and emphasized in an organization. For example, employees need to be given the freedom to solve problems on their own, using thought patterns that belong to no one else but themselves.
In this way, workplaces can appreciate their way of bringing an innovative solution to the table and tackle issues in innovative ways. The more innovative ways that come to the table, the better future we can ensure.
“Diversity of thought in the workplace is extremely important to enhance trust among people.”
Freedom at work has become a business imperative with a multigenerational workforce. The importance that employees place on their freedom in the workplace is paramount and has become one of the first requirements as a way of ensuring their personal liberty.
Organizations have now started to realize this and have resolved that curtailing this innovative freedom is hardly the solution. Hence, the creation of a framework that identifies and recognizes freedom with its boundaries, limitations and restrictions is a challenging yet essential task.
Top organizations like Google and Facebook are known for the kind of freedom they impart to their employees. This autonomy helps their employees foster a sense of value and happiness in the work environment, making them feel important in the organization and comfortable with the role they play.
“It is very important to give employees the freedom at work, the freedom they deserve.”
This also means that although the provision of freedom is important, the guidance to the usage of freedom is also equally important. Companies need to play an important role in defining whether the freedom at work entails everything they think it does.
The behaviours that entail this freedom in the workplace need to be clearly and objectively defined so that all parties, the employees and leadership, benefit from them. This is also a sure-fire way of preventing freedom conflicts and keeping productivity at its peak.
“Freedom comes with responsibility and bilateral cooperation across the organization.”
Just like there is a freedom of expression in our country, freedom of expression should also be implemented in the workplace. However, just like restrictions are implemented on fundamental rights in order to protect from force and violence, the freedom to expression in the workplace should also be curtailed to an extent.
Employees should be taught to express what they feel but within the set of rules defined for this expression. Those rules need not be a top-down effort, rather they are bilaterally agreed upon by the team members involved with each other.
However, employees cannot exercise unrestrained freedom of speech with respect to the company’s financial and internal data or the details of clients that the company deals with.
Social media has made everyone less wary about the information, judgements and biases they possess. With the advent of such platforms, employees tend to be less wary with the kind of information they disseminate in public. This freedom can lead to challenges and might hinder progress in the long as well as the short run.
Freedom = Happiness
It is essential to understand that the demand for freedom in the workplace is not a trend that will fade away with time. It is an ongoing process of employee rights that needs to be fostered in a healthy and nurturing way.
The earliest American definition of freedom, stated frequently by the Founding Fathers, is about constraints on personal actions “if I don’t hurt anybody else, I should be free to pursue my own will.”
Understanding freedom is not a small matter. Several studies have shown that freedom causes happiness.
“Freedom and happiness are highly correlated.”
As people we have certain universal needs. We need to be treated as equals. We need opportunity for personal growth, and we want to lead a self-sufficient life. Each of these needs are not being met in command-and-control hierarchies.
The most important benefit of freeing an organization is that it gives people access to these basic yet most essential needs.
Psychologically, when people’s need are being met at the most fundamental level, there is an almost immediate bond of trust created and that trust combined with freedom is what makes some companies unstoppable.
For more information on how to expand on the principles of freedom at work, check out the Radical Purpose movement by clicking here.