Creating a generation of employees who take the lead is an exhilarating challenge. It is the first thing that must be done to release the full power of an organization. Freedom isn't something superficial. Freedom isn't a triviality. Freedom isn't to be taken lightly. Freedom must be given and taken without reservation and without compunction. Freedom in the workplace has a critical meaning.
Freedom in the workplace means being able to decide how the work is to be done. Freedom in the workplace means being able to make changes in the way in which work is done to make it more effective. Freedom in the workplace means being able to talk back to the supervisor or manager without fear of reprisal. As a manager, you must allow workers to talk back. Workers must be able to say what they think and feel, in a kind and gentle way of course, and without rancor on their part.
Freedom in the workplace carries with it the responsibility to care, to be concerned that the work gets done, and that the workplace is safe and attractive. Freedom carries with it the challenge to perform at your best level, to excel at what you do. Freedom in the workplace carries with it the obligation to be truthful and honest. When you are free, you are obligated to do all you can to advance the position of the company in which you are working.
Freedom in the workplace, however, offers every employee the opportunity to be greater, to aspire to greater things, to care and to want and to achieve beyond what they had anticipated before joining the company. Freedom is exhilarating, stimulating, invigorating, and enlivening. Life is fun when you are free. Life is sad and tragic when you are bound and gagged. Life is enjoyable when you are free. Life is depressing and disgusting when you are fettered and shackled. This realization of the fundamental nature of freedom in the workplace as the most critical underlying perception to active workplaces and productive employees has eluded most managers.
Most managers just do not realize that freedom in the workplace may be the most important element in a global environment where immediacyspontaneous decision-making, direct action, and continuous analysismust be contended with every moment of the working day. The freedom to think and act on behalf of the organization, the freedom to think and act on behalf of the customers and clients of the company, the freedom to think and act on behalf of the best interests of all employees in the organization, and the freedom to think and act on behalf of future generations of employees is a solemn responsibility and obligation. Nothing can be more important than taking every step possible to free employees to live and work at this level. This must be the first and primary concern of every leader.