The anatomy of autonomy

Everything in moderation is a popular phrase used when we want to explain that it’s alright to do something that perhaps isn’t as good for us in excess.

I suppose it’s often used when referring to certain foods or exercise. It’s not a stretch to use that phrase when we’re describing autonomy. Autonomy is one of those things that is sold as a perk or benefit for individuals in companies.

Autonomy is defined as self-rule or self-governance. It’s the idea of managing your own time and space. It’s great to have autonomy especially at work and inside organizations where you often need the room to be creative and get things done, but we thrive more when we’re part of something, or rather a team.

“The recognition that autonomy is morally valuable and that people’s attempts to make their own lives should be respected does not mean that people always make the right choices for themselves.” – Frank Furedi

The benefit of autonomy is the space to experiment but the risk is that we don’t often get the best feedback or experience the rich interactions that challenge us towards better decisions and outcomes. Autonomy is one of those things that is good in moderation but isn’t as good when it consumes us.


What parts of your work can be improved through greater levels of collaboration? Where can you ‘loosen the grip’ and be deliberate about including others?

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