When I worked in the NHS in a secure, salaried position I had:
• Employment protection including occupational pension
• Guaranteed salary regardless of the effort I put in
• Regular hours Monday to Friday
• Sick pay
• Holiday pay
As a self-employed sole trader I have:
• No employment protection
• No guaranteed income
• No sick pay
• No paid holidays
• No regular hours
So on face value many might say the preferred option has got to be the secure salaried position. In fact I’m pretty sure many might argue it is a no brainer.
And yet I have never been happier in my work.
I believe I am more accountable than I ever was in the NHS. That is because I am accountable to the man I see in the mirror. He holds me to incredibly high standards and expectations. I cannot con him and I cannot bluff him. He sees straight through inadequate excuses. Bullshit does not work with him.
It is very ironic that I feel more accountable than I ever did during the time I worked in the NHS which is one of the most ‘supervised’ environments.
This personal experience convinces me of something I have always believed.
• In large organisations (I would say in small organisations too) we simply must let people have self-accountability.
• We can make people accountable and then hold them to account.
• The best managers and leaders know how to ‘let go’ and yet still ‘be there.’
Some will argue it is not quite as easy in an organisation as it is for me in a self employed setting to have this freedom – I don’t accept that. I would say the more freedom people are given the more effectiveness you get back. That's not about 'rules' and complexity - its about trust, beliefs and organisational culture.
It’s not hard work to trust people – we just need to trust them.
What do you think?