Achieving More Autonomy At Work

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Achieving More Autonomy At Work

  • There are also hidden dangers to "Autonomy" and that is the danger of being "forgotten" or "pigeon-holed" or coming across as a bit arrogant.  For example, if you answer the question of "What does a DBA do" with an answer of "You'll find out when I quit doing it", you're not going to make many friends in management and you might not just be putting your autonomy in danger but you could be putting your job in danger.

    You also have to let people know what you're working on what what you actually have been doing.  A good ticketing system will let you do keep track of such things and let people know what you've been working on.  It might seem like a pain in the butt to do so but, being one of the higher paid members of an expensive team, there will come a time when you need to prove yourself to someone else... maybe even your own boss.  It also helps when you have to fill out your own review (seems to be the way things have worked for the last decade +)... a LOT!

    And I do like the way the word "agency" was used in this article and, yes... "trust" is created by "verification" in a lot of areas.

    Thanks for the article.  I think it's really important... especially for those that are permanently remote employees.

    --Jeff Moden

    RBAR is pronounced "ree-bar" and is a "Modenism" for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
    First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
    ________Stop thinking about what you want to do to a ROW... think, instead, of what you want to do to a COLUMN.

    Change is inevitable... Change for the better is not.

    Helpful Links:
    How to post code problems
    How to Post Performance Problems
    Create a Tally Function (fnTally)

  • Actually, if you hire qualified personnel, you should allow them to do what they want when they want to. Give them a target and then let them go. As a manager you can oversee their choices. If they have to come to you every time the project will never get done and the new hire will be unhappy.

  • If you are a manager then the thing that lets you be autonomous is being able to trust your staff to be autonomous.

    The danger I find with autonomy is that it is possible to be working hard, doing a good job to a high standard, but doing the wrong job.  A lot of the time I don't need managing but I do need navigational verification.

  • Interesting editorial, Andy. I've got to think more about what you're saying, mainly because I don't use those terms. Especially the term agency as you've used it.

    I've got a question which for me will help with some clarification. When interviewing for a job I often want to have some idea what the hiring manager's management style is like. This would fit in with the autonomy vs. verify then trust; I think. But I'm afraid to ask during the interview what the hiring manager's style is like. I've been around enough insecure managers that I know some will take offense and not answer truthfully. One interview process I was in I was able to ask one of the people who would be a coworker of mine, what the hiring manager's style is like. But that's rare, at least for me, to have that sort of interview.

    So, my clarifying question to you is this, how do I determine what a hiring manager's approach to autonomy is? Especially in the interview? Or is it something I'd have to try and find out outside of the interview?

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

  • Jeff, thanks for reading and commenting Agree that a lot of the behaviors that support autonomy can work against you if you don't keep good notes or otherwise share "accomplishments". I'm a big fan of whatever flavor of ticketing systems to help with that, its all (or almost) in one place and the comments we add are both helpful on tactical communication as far as task X and also are a place to show well we communicate.

    I wish there were was something better than reviews!


  • Linda, maybe I agree with you in the abstract, but in practice I've rarely found it be that easy. Aspire to it, yes! I find daily standups are a natural and non-invasive way to adjust priorities, provide feedback, etc, and then with luck they can manage the rest of their day around that. That's about as far as I go on the "do what you want when you want" view, at least with the kinds of work I do now.


  • David, agree on both!

  • Rod, thats a nice question, it really is. I think part of it depends on where you are as far as "I need a job now" vs "I'm shopping until I find what I want", sometimes we just need to work. But if you have some time, then I think having a conversation about the style is good on the second interview. First time around both sides screening, at the second interview its fair to dig deeper. I think one easy question is about how work is managed. Jira, ADO, etc, what system do you use and are you Scrum, Kanban, something else? Followed by how do I know priorities and when priorities change? You might also ask something like "whats the best way to communicate to you questions or status on a particular task?"? Or more simply, on a daily/weekly basis what do you expect from your team beyond the technical part? Ideally you're getting into a conversation where you can explore how the team works and that should reveal quite a bit.

    I think if you want to push a little, ask them how they handle missed deadlines or mistakes, and how those above them handle it. Is a rollback a sign of professionalism when sometime went wrong or just a fail?

    I'll think on this more .



  • Thank you, Andy.

    Kindest Regards, Rod Connect with me on LinkedIn.

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