Behavioral Scale Deep Dive: High Autonomy

Autonomy: The need to act independently, regardless of others’ beliefs or opinions about those actions. 

Do you highly value your freedom? Are you assertive and independent? If so, you may be a high scorer in autonomy. Let’s take a look at the behavioral traits of someone with a high score in autonomy and what you can do to best encourage their growth. 

High Autonomy

Meet Tom. Tom has no problem making decisions and rarely seeks out the advice of other people, often going with his own plan. Despite what the rest of the pack is doing, Tom will always forge his own path and do his own thing, not being too concerned with other’s opinions of him. Sometimes he has a hard time working with other people because they may not agree with the way he wants to do things and he would rather have free rein of a project.

Tom is a good example of someone who likely has a high autonomy score. He:

  • Highly values freedom and originality
  • Works well alone
  • Is assertive
  • Likes to have free rein & minimal rules
  • Values individual contribution
  • Is often motivated by risk  

Tips for Managing High Scorers

Although high scorers in autonomy can be assertive, independent leaders, sometimes their tendency to be defiant and stubborn can hold them back personally and professionally.  Also, sometimes high scorers in autonomy can be reactive and impulsively “shut other people down” in their determination to get their own way, many times disregarding or minimizing the feelings and desires of others.  Because of this, they might have difficulty maintaining effective relationships. 

Here are some tips for managing someone with a high autonomy score: 

  • Encourage them that two can accomplish more than one and teamwork is necessary for success in many situations. 
  • Encourage them to practice slowing down, listening to others and thoroughly communicating their thoughts.
  • Encourage them to take time to care and listen to others feelings.
  • Because high scorers in autonomy are very independent, they don’t like to be micromanaged and may get frustrated by frequent unnecessary check-ins and strict processes. Instead, set up check-ins at a reasonable interval and give them assertive, clear direction and operating parameters so they don’t just go off the grid.

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