How to Have More Autonomy at Work

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Happy Employee at His Desk

CEOs and executive team members have clear lines of ownership and, ultimately, a great deal of accountability for their companies and teams. However, ownership isn’t an idea reserved for management.  Having a strong sense of ownership and accountability are traits top employees demonstrate as well, and introducing autonomy in the workplace can help increase these traits.

Why is Autonomy At Work Important?

Simply put, autonomy at work refers to the amount of freedom employees have in their roles. Having the freedom to make decisions on how workloads should be balanced or how the common end goal of a project should be reached can improve job satisfaction levels. Autonomy can also lead to employees becoming fully committed to projects they are managing.   Being able to make decisions on how tasks should be carried out instead of simply executing them makes employees feel personally connected to the project as a whole. Encouraging your employees to take pride and ownership in their work is a crucial key to success for any business. 

What is Ownership at Work? 

Taking ownership at work means that instead of relying on others to take action, you take the initiative to achieve the desired results. Employees who take ownership show that they care about the outcome of a project and take accountability for their actions. Speaking up to offer a solution to a problem that arises in a project is a form of taking ownership. Instead of waiting for others to find the answer, you have taken on the active role of seeking out a solution. Developing a sense of ownership shows employers that they can trust you to be a dedicated member of the team.

Employees who exhibit a strong level of ownership also understand where their biggest return on investment lies — does measurable traction occur for the company when they devote time to digital marketing, or does the real return happen when they focus on relationship building in person? Whatever the tactic may be, it’s important to understand your wisest time investments and how to leverage them for the benefit of your team and company.

5 Ways for Employees to be Accountable and Take Ownership at Work

Look for advice

One of the best ways to own your role is to develop buy-in from respected members of the team. This can be done by finding a mentor within your company. Look for someone who can teach best practices on soft skills (things like meeting etiquette and office politics) in addition to key technical skills. Finding the right mentor in your office allows you to develop a strong relationship with someone who can serve as your advocate and helps you continuously develop while at the company.

Envision the future.

Map your own career trajectory by figuring where you’d like to see yourself down the road. If you have a clear idea of where you’d like to get, it’s easier to fill in the needed steps to get there. Be sure to identify the ways that your current role will position you in the future. Build proficiencies in your role that will affirm your current value and establish momentum around your next steps.

Seek learning opportunities.

If your current role is at a junior level or doesn’t involve management-level work, begin preparing yourself for next steps in your career by assessing learning “gaps.” If you don’t have management experience, for example, it will be important to find a way to learn from a more senior employee at your office or find a course that will help you address any skill gaps that could prevent you from moving up in the company.

Develop checkpoints with your manager.

By setting a consistent pace with your manager around your key goals and deliverables, both sides are kept accountable. Finding a way to incorporate your goals into a regular meeting with your manager allows you to build rapport with your superiors. In addition, you establish a professional reputation and tie your work to your professional checkpoints.

Check in with yourself regularly.

If you want to be known as a team player who is invested in the success of the company, it helps to regularly ask yourself, “What more can I do to have the biggest impact?” Asking this question should generate a clear picture of areas for improvement as well as successful tactics in your role.

Don’t have a job you’re passionate about owning? That’s okay, we can help you find your next opportunity.

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