Give Your Employees Freedom to Build an Aligned Career

by | Jan 7, 2021 | Actionable Insights

Conscious uncoupling.

It’s a term I remember rolling my eyes at back in 2014 when Gwyneth Paltrow first unleashed it on the world. And, a term I can’t stop thinking about as it relates to business. As we all know, the concept that employees will stay “married” to a single company for their entire careers is largely a thing of the past. What’s emerged in its place, for businesses, is fear. Now, we need to take the next step and accept reality: we can’t control our people, so let’s think about how to support them while they’re with us. Your employees will make their highest contribution only when they’re trusted and empowered to do their best work on behalf of your company.

If you want to hire the best (and I do), expect that they’ll behave like talented, ambitious people should.

Your Best Employees Will Quit. Here’s What To Do About It. Alex Turnbull, GROOVEHQ.

Acknowledge the fear

You may fear that your employees are going to behave unpredictably, or that your investment in them won’t have enough of a return. There may be any number of other fears you’ve expressed or heard from other leaders in your organization. But the most important thing to remember is that fear often leads to tactics designed to control people: contracts created to prevent employees from leaving, excessive payroll and benefits expenses to make them feel guilty about putting their needs first, and, worst of all, a lack of coaching designed to help them uncover and live according to their highest purpose (unless it serves the needs of the company).

Shift from control tactics to an alignment mindset

A desire to control people runs counter to a desire to advance a company’s mission with the best talent out there. Plus, no matter how powerful you are, it’s not possible to control anyone but yourself. It’s wonderful when a person decides to become your employee. It means that they feel so aligned with what you’re doing as a company that they’re making the choice to share their energy, creativity, and productivity with you. And it’s only natural if they’re learning, growing, and changing the way they deserve that the alignment may not last forever. I love the way Alex Turnbull, Founder and CEO of Groove, states it:

If you want to hire the best (and I do), expect that they’ll behave like talented, ambitious people should.

Sometimes, they’ll outgrow the role you’ve given them. And if you can’t provide that next step, then someone else should.

They’ve worked hard and brought value to you and your team. Maybe they will again someday.

But for now, accept that it’s their time, wish them the best, and mean it.

When this mindset is embedded in your culture, you’ll see the benefits outweigh the fears. Employees who know you have their best interests at heart will talk to you about what they want and what they need. They’ll give you an opportunity to provide it, and if you can’t, they’ll give you plenty of notice and work hard on a good transition.

A new way of thinking

Acknowledge that your people are on a lifelong journey of personal and professional growth. That the paths of your company and all the people who might be amazing employees will naturally align and diverge over time. Consider how this might change the way you compensate, collaborate, and coach. More and more people are rethinking the role of work in their lives, becoming open to gig work and multiple jobs, and seeking more flexibility than ever. Be proactive in supporting your employees in a new way. The future of your company depends on it!