12 Ways to Outgrow Oppressive Environments

Rules, restrictions, and hierarchy make us small.

Greatness assumes freedom.

Men and women languish under oppression and die for freedom. Yet, organizations often cling to heavy-handed methods to get things done.

greatness assumes freedom

5 benefits of freedom:

  1. Energy to face challenging obstacles, rather than walk away.
  2. Fulfillment while working hard on things that matter.
  3. Sacrifice for things that express purpose.
  4. Commitment to stick together when times are tough.
  5. Risk-taking when outcomes are important and choices impact results.

Free choices are more powerful than coerced decisions.

12 ways to outgrow oppressive environments:

  1. Emphasize values when extending freedom. Set people free, only when they’re dedicated to serve each other. Restrain or remove those who serve themselves at the expense of others.
  2. Strengthen connections. Freedom leads to isolation, when competent people forget how to play together. Disconnection drains energy. We’re stronger when we pull with others.
  3. Establish goals that matter to yourself and others. Describe the win?
  4. Create a playing field with boundary lines. Liberty isn’t license and freedom isn’t a free-for-all. Boundaries set us free to perform in useful ways. (Some rules and restrictions are helpful.)
  5. Invite feedback and input, persistently. Ask, “What do you think?” Pay attention to each other’s responses.
  6. Evaluate performance to agreed upon standards, frequently. Winners want to know if they’re winning.
  7. Confront mediocrity. How is this our best? How can we do better?
  8. Embrace transparency. Secrets offend freedom and disrespect teammates.
  9. Share success stories and lessons learned.
  10. Give authority to control schedules. If you want them to own their job, let them control their schedule. Freedom and flexibility go hand-in-hand.
  11. Create options – give choices.
  12. Eliminate hierarchy – expect responsibility.

What does freedom at work look like?

How much freedom can you give at work and still get things done?