A Culture of Freedom

Yesterday, the United States observed Independence Day.  This pausing in the life of the country is designed to encourage reflection and celebration of independence from oppressive rule and individual freedom.

Ok, we all understand what July 4th is about.  But what about your development shop?  How “free” is it?

Here are 3 questions to ask yourself to determine the degree of freedom present within your team:

  1. Do team members have the freedom to fail? Are they encouraged to experiment and try new strategies and tactics?  Or, are the goals and the methods spelled out for each team member?  Oddly enough, the freedom to fail is a key variable which must be present for an individual to live up to her promise and, ultimately, to succeed.   How does your shop handle failure?
  2. Are team members encouraged to work to their strengths? Are they regularly given opportunities to assess and realign their work to match their strengths?  Or, do supervisors engage in limited discussion with team members about their strengths, their dreams, and their passions?
  3. Is your office centrally controlled or centrally coordinated? Do team members view themselves are responsible and accountable for their programs?  Or, is a single person (or a few people) in control?

As leaders, our primary work is to provide opportunities for those in our care to grow as professionals and as people.  In fact, this should be more than our work, it should be our joy.

When people are free to fail, when they are encouraged to work to their strengths, and when they embrace their power and responsibility for their work, you have a culture of freedom that will serve each individual and your institution exceedingly well.


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