Taking Ownership: How to Boost Autonomy at Work

Are you tired of feeling like just another cog in the machine at work? Or, maybe, you are constantly doubtful about your skills and need extra motivation to believe in yourself?

Well, taking ownership might just be the key!

When we take ownership, we're not just clocking in and out each day, but we're actively engaging in our work, taking charge of our responsibilities, and striving to achieve our goals.

This sense of autonomy can be incredibly empowering and helps build trust with our colleagues and managers. Plus, it can lead to increased job satisfaction, better career prospects, and a more fulfilling work experience overall.

So, let's dig into why taking ownership at work is so important and how we can start to cultivate this mindset in our day-to-day work! 

But first, let’s define ownership at work

What does ownership mean? Simply put, you treat your work as if you were its owner and feel fully responsible for it. It’s like…taking a helm! 

Taking ownership means that you always act like an owner. You work with others, ask for help, but your project is yours. 

But why is it so important?

Taking ownership - why so crucial?

The truth is -

Ownership brings trust and support. We trust that what we plan is the best for our team and the company. We know that others can count on us, and we can count on them. Knowing that everyone is accountable makes every process easier by design. 

Moreover, a company with employees who show initiative is a company that’s moving forward. It creates a more positive and engaging working environment for everyone, which is an essential ingredient of development.

Tips & examples of how to take ownership

Luckily, taking ownership as an approach is not a gift we are born with but a skill we can learn with time!  Let’s check some tips on how you can practice it at work! 

#1 Feel alignment with your role

When you do what you like and feel good at, taking ownership becomes something natural. Can you imagine a situation where you get a project, but it’s not your issue? It would be deadly frustrating to fill it. 

So it’s crucial to understand your role and responsibility and be aligned with your goals. Don’t be afraid to ask WHY. Check metrics, ask for feedback to be up to date, and always try to see the bigger picture. Then, if you are really into the task and understand the surrounding, you want to discover more, explore, create something new, and just play as the owner.

And, if you are looking for new career opportunities and are just about accepting a new role, make sure it fits your personal goals and aspirations. We spend half of our life at work, so why don’t we feel the real sense and take full advantage? 

💡Learn more: If you are looking for inspiration, check Start With Why by Simon Sinek

#2 Feel accountability for successes and failures

Ups and downs - it’s natural to experience them at work. However, the trick is to celebrate successes and deal with losses appropriately. The second is usually more complicated. Do you know the phrase “the man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything?” You will be much more respected when you accept your mistakes rather than try to hide them or blame others. Trust me! If you make an error, take it and treat it as a lesson learned. It is a way of showing that you take responsibility for your work and any challenges that appear. 

#3 Be transparent 

Now, we can move smoothly to another example related to challenges that may occur at work. When there is a problem or delay while doing some task, be open and let your leader know. It will be much more appreciated than hiding such information. Speaking openly about some obstacles shows that you feel responsible for the project. It also evidences your fairness. And, maybe together you will find the solution to your problem?

Read more: check more Ways to Show the “Play Fair” Rule in the Workplace.

#4 Generate solutions, not problems

Let’s dive deeper into the unforeseen problems while doing a project. What is your approach to such a situation at work? What would you do if there was an unexpected blocker? 

People with a sense of ownership don’t wait for others to solve a problem. They anticipate potential problems and take steps to resolve issues before they escalate. If you are the task owner, you are also responsible for facing any problem.

Ownership is about being proactive. Employees complete tasks before being asked or generate ideas for improving processes. That is why understanding your job role within an organization is so significant! It helps in achieving company goals and taking the initiative when it seems no one else will. Can you see it? 

#5 Suggest improvements 

Another example of showing ownership is proposing ideas. People who feel accountable are willing to find potential business opportunities and introduce them. It may be a proposition for automating or optimizing jobs, improving some processes, or introducing something new. Now it’s time to think about your workplace and things that can be changed. Have you ever tried to suggest improvements? If yes, it means that you fully feel a sense of ownership 👏

#6 Share knowledge

Some people are secretive about work and believe sharing their expertise and insights will make them lose value. Anything like that! If you take part in exciting training, and your head is full of ideas, prepare a mini-workshop for your team to share with them what you’ve learned. Such an approach evidences your openness and ownership. You will gain respect from your colleagues, and maybe you will generate some awesome ideas during the workshop💡.

📚Check more: dive deeper into Tips on Promoting Knowledge Sharing at Work.

Last but not least 

I know - taking ownership at work can feel daunting, especially if we're used to relying on others for direction or feeling like we're just a small piece of a larger puzzle. But it's important to remember that even little steps can make a big difference! 

By taking ownership of a small project or task, we can build confidence in our abilities and start to develop our skills and mindset. And trust me - over time, these small actions will lead to significant growth and success. 

So, don't be afraid to take that first step and start taking ownership of your work - you might be surprised at just how much you can accomplish!

If you want to chat about this topic, reach out to me via LinkedIn!

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