Freedom Passes: The New Math of Leadership 


If you want to empower people, then give them a freedom pass.

When I was in school I had a love-hate relationship with math. 

I loved doing math – working to find an answer to a problem. In fact, I was pretty good at it. I even served on the math team for a while. 

But I hated having to solve the problem with the teacher’s methods. 

On tests I would do poorly if the teacher made us show our work. I could get the right answers, but I wanted to use my own methods. The years I was on the math team and did best were when I had teachers who allowed me the freedom to find answers my way. 

I realize the teacher needed to make sure I wasn’t cheating and knew how to think through a specified process, but I wanted to invent my own process. 

I think there is a leadership principle here. I have seen it so many times.  

If you want to empower people – give them a freedom pass. 

In fact, if your team is currently stalled – maybe you need to hand out some freedom passes. 

What’s a freedom pass? It is giving your people the freedom to complete their assignments in the way which works best for them.  

Successful leaders understand organizational success involves letting people figure out their own way. If you want team members to be energized towards progress they must be empowered to develop their own strategies for attaining the goals and objectives. 

You still hold team members accountable for progress, but you allow them freedom to choose the process of completion. In practical terms this could be the hours they choose to work, where they do their work, and often who they include on their individual team.  

When you allow people to script the “how” they are more motivated to complete the “what”. People need space to create. They need to have input into the process of completing the vision of the team or organization. 

Give people a Freedom Pass. It’s the new math of leadership. 

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