Posted on

The “circle of freedom” is an idea I stole from my friend Luca.
It’s a process to build autonomy and self-leadership.
If you take a child in the woods, told him that he is free to go anywhere and then leave, would he feel free? I doubt so. I’m pretty sure he will feel abandoned and scared. Paralyzed by fear, he won’t be able to go anywhere or do anything.

That’s why you’ll never do that. Instead, you accompany children, and while they grow, you give them more and more space until they can go in the woods alone. You expand their circle of freedom until it’s gone.

The same approach applies to everything else in life.
If we don’t have the tools to manage it, freedom can be a scary thing.

I see this thing happening in some organizations or teams. The leaders want to promote autonomy and self-leadership, so they remove structures and give people more freedom to manage themselves and their time.
Suddenly, everyone in the organization finds that their circle of freedom goes from tight to incredibly vast. If they don’t have the tool to manage that freedom, they may feel abandoned and stressed.

That’s where the circle of freedom idea can be of help.

As a leader, you can sit with your people and together, you can figure out the size and the boundaries of the initial circle of freedom. Within the circle, the person is free to make her decisions. Decisions for which she feels confident because she has all the tools and knowledge she needs. Outside the circle, she knows she will have your support. Then, together, you agree on a plan to expand that circle of freedom. What tools and skills must be acquired and so on. The more she builds confidence, the quicker the circle expands until it’s gone.
I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this.

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *