How can I get more autonomy at work?

Morgan McKinley 06.02.2018

Taken from our Managing Up series of webinars, life coach Talane Miedaner, answers this attendee's question on how to get more autonomy at work, becoming more self-sufficient and how to have that talk with your boss.



Mohanned, from the UK: I want to be the master of my own schedule and become more self-sufficient. I need to create a space so whilst achieving all my deadlines and deliverables.

Talane: This is an interesting one. This is probably related to the needs that we talked about before, so somebody who probably has the need for independence. That's a very common need, that you need to be free, independent or unrestricted and need to be independent. People who have that need often are very good at being entrepreneurs in their own business.

I actually have that need myself and left the banking world. I'm very happy about that; because of my need for independence it suits well. But you can try to create more independence in the working place and the way to do that could be related to boundaries. It's letting your boss know:

  • I do my best work when very loosely supervised
  • I like to have my own free domain here
  • I'll come to you if I have a problem
  • I’ll report to you weekly on my progress


Or whatever it is, you can set up something where they feel secure. It helps to know what your boss's needs are and if you can identify your own needs that helps too. I'm gonna guess that's one of your needs and that it would be worthwhile to have some sort of conversation with your boss about how you might get that met.

Does that mean you work from home one or two days a week? So you have some more independence and freedom without interruptions in your schedule, that might be something to negotiate for.

Would it be that you are given more of a free reign, a broad brush? So your boss says, "Here this is what I need you to accomplish in terms of goals. You do it your own way and I'll leave you to it." And you can tell your boss that’s what you need. 

Different employees need different things - some employees really like to have very clear structures and actions and expectations spelled out for them; they like the clarity the structure, they want that. Other people like you really prefer to figure that out yourself and have more free reign and don't want to be told. So again, your boss won't necessarily know that, they won't know if you need structure and details and this is what I expect from you or if you prefer to have a free reign. They won't know that.

Everybody's different, so you need to tell them. That's about being direct, telling people what you need to do your best work and finding a way that works where your boss will feel secure and they know you will be confident. You have a relationship with them and say, "look, the moment there is even the slightest problem I will let you know about it and bring you in'" and having that relationship based on trust.

So it can be done, it can definitely be done.

Want to watch the whole webinar, watch it here.

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