Too Much of a Good Thing

Joel Lazer, CPA, CA, CIRPBlog, Consulting, HR, Leadership

How would you like your workplace to be?  Would you like to have independence there?  Would you like it to be an environment in which you can grow and develop with the capacity to expend your energy and use your talents with freedom?  Or, would you prefer to be told what to do and when to do it – no room for individuality or originality; totally structured?

If you’re like me, you’d choose the former.  Most would.  A little guidance would be a good accompaniment.  The more fundamental question is, can freedom and independence lead to anarchy?  If we are all given the freedom to do what we want when we want, then how do we avoid anarchy?

The reality is, we can’t do all of what we want when we want.  It would lead to anarchy.  At the most basic level, we are all too self-involved and self-interested, and with too much of that freedom, we would forget about our neighbour and then it would be every man for himself.  That’s anarchy.  And that leads to chaos.

Parameters, or boundaries, with respect to behaviour and outcomes are necessary.  And respect for others, for rules and for authority is necessary, too.  We can do this collaboratively or democratically or by consensus.  Once we agree on that, then we behave accordingly.

Freedom and independence are good things.  They need guidelines and accountability.  Without them everybody does what they please without regard to the whole.  Too much of a good thing – not a good result.