Issue 62

Freedom at Work: Redefining success in an organization

George Mihaiu
Online Marketing Specialist @Azimut Happy Employees


Since we were little, we were told to search for success in all things that we do because this search will guarantee us happiness. So, how come we don't notice an explosion of happiness amongst employees who established themselves as being successful? (employees who earn more than 75.000\$/per year). We came to realize that having a successful career along with a care-free life, doesn't necessarily lead towards the ideals of happiness.

In 1964, in a Harvard Business Review article entitled, "Democracy Is Inevitable," Warren Bennis and Philip Slater[^1] argued that democracy would be the trend in both the workplace and the world because it is the most efficient social system in times of change. Bennis, a management expert and business school professor, and Slater, a sociologist and writer, foresaw the need for a system which was adaptive and which promoted freedom of thought and action.

Today, we live in an era defined by unprecedented demands for participation, collaboration, and inclusion.

Look around and you will see the momentum of freedom and democracy in everything from education reform to urban planning, from the millennial mindset to religion, from revolutions that free entire populations to protests for expanded rights to how we teach our children to find joy and success through contribution.

So what does that mean for us—leaders of organizations and teams, business owners, and entrepreneurs?

Leading brain research shows that when we are in a state of fear we have a limited reasoning and creative capacity, crippling the capability of our colleagues, our organizations and ourselves.

Micromanagement, bureaucracy, disengagement —these are all symptoms of fear in the workplace. Organizations battle these problems on multiple fronts, not realizing the solution to them all lies in one foundational idea: freedom at work.

Freedom Centered Blueprint

• A Freedom-Centered Mindset is characterized by an expansive and inclusive perspective rather than a controlling and fear-based point of view. What does this mean for an organization? More exploration into new ideas and methods, a greater sense of ownership and accountability among employees, and a greater connection to the success of the organization over all.

• Freedom-Centered Design leads to a democratic organizational structure with less micro-management, greater sharing of information, and greater decision-making ability distributed throughout the organization. As a result, freedom-centered organizations tend to be more agile and productive, make wiser and more efficient use of their resources, and innovate and execute with speed.

• Organizations that promote Freedom-Centered Leadership create cultures in which everybody—not just the elite few or those with a certain title—has the choice and responsibility to be a leader, beginning with effectively leading him or herself. They support individuals as they develop into leaders who have self-worth, self-knowledge, and can effectively self-govern. When leadership is less about control, and more about encouraging greater autonomy and collective wisdom, leaders become more transparent, honest, and inclusive.

Freedom at Work practices are good for business. People are more engaged, more motivated, are more satisfied with their jobs, have an increased psychological safety and stay longer at the company. This all translates into higher retention rate, increased performance and productivity, more innovation, more flexibility and agility, better customer care and satisfaction, and increased revenue and profit. People are meant to have autonomy and the chance to use all their talents in shaping something great, something bigger than themselves. - Kacso Szilard, CEO Azimut Happy Employees




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