Granting Your Employees With Autonomy

We forget that mastery is something human beings seek because we’re human beings. We like to get better at stuff because it’s inherently satisfying.

Daniel Pink, writing for the Washington Post, argues that we need more renewable motivation. How do we create this? Engage your employees, not by managing them but granting them autonomy.

We’re not mice on treadmills with little carrots being dangled in front of us all the time. Sometimes we are. There’s no question about that. But in the workplace, as people are doing more complicated things, the carrot-and-stick approach doesn’t work.

What’s frustrating, or ought to be frustrating, to individuals in companies and shareholders as well is that when we see these carrot-and-stick motivators demonstrably fail before our eyes – when we see them fail in organizations right before our very eyes – our response isn’t to say: “Man, those carrot-and-stick motivators failed again. Let’s try something new.” It’s, “Man, those carrot-and-stick motivators failed again. Looks like we need more carrots. Looks like we need sharper sticks.” And it’s taking us down a fundamentally misguided path.