What Autonomy in the Workplace Looks Like at Logic20/20
The word “autonomy” first entered the English language in the seventeenth century. Borrowed from the Greek “autonomos,” meaning independent, self-governed or having its own laws, the word was at first used exclusively with regard to statecraft. It wasn’t until the beginning of the nineteenth century, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, that authors began to repurpose it to apply to individuals.
Today, the word autonomy enjoys an unlikely popularity. Very modern idioms like self-driving technology and medical ethics make use of autonomy — as does the modern workplace, where remote and hybrid work have necessitated a nearly unprecedented degree of self-direction.
Still, establishing the appropriate mix of latitude and managerial support can be a challenge for many individual contributors and the companies that employ them. Anna Emmett, solutions architect with business and technology consulting firm Logic20/20, has developed a flexible and supportive relationship with her employer. The key? Feeling a sense of empowerment and trust, setting clear goals and providing opportunities for career development and growth outside of restrictive categorical work.
For Emmett, autonomy is more than a buzzword. It’s a holistic approach to her work as an individual contributor and a framework built of trust and respect between management and employee.
“For me, autonomy at work is all about empowerment and lack of micromanagement. My manager knows that he doesn’t need to stand over my shoulder after the goals are set,” said Emmett. “I can pick how and when to do the work, to have it done in a timely manner but on my own terms. It also means I can pick up things that interest me outside of my current assignment and explore them.”
At Logic20/20, Emmett has established a rapport with management that allows her the flexibility to work how and when she works most effectively.
“When you first join a company, you build a foundation of trust with your manager so they feel comfortable letting you do your own thing. In the consulting industry, specifically, we are deployed to our clients with our project teams and have to self-organize to deliver,” Emmett said. “Our managers are more likely than not to not be on the same projects as us. I think it helps establish an initial autonomy level.”
Emmett also credits Logic20/20 with providing her opportunities to grow and chart her own direction as she advances in her career.
For me, autonomy at work is all about empowerment and lack of micromanagement.”
“I feel supported by Logic20/20 and the management when I want to embark on new internal initiative adventures,” Emmett said. “The career development framework we have in the company contains a set of capability areas that an employee would hone to advance their career, but they are defined loosely enough to let an employee choose their development priorities and career direction.”