What does your freedom cost someone else on your team?

We have talked about it before, it comes up often in the average workplace, and I speak about it so often. The balance between authority and responsibility is a hard one to strike. We want the 2 to get along at all times but the longer a group or a system operates smoothly, the easier it is to become negligent in upkeep of the balance. The best way it shows itself is in a simple question like this:

Why don’t people want to join our committee?

And there it is, the team is off balance. The authority of one may be asking for too much responsibility of the other; the responsibility of one has too little authority attached to it. Either way, it feels like freedom for one and infringement on the freedom of another. People stop talking, meetings happen outside the meetings, distrust blooms, volunteers drop like flies, and no one dares step foot in a space with unspoken expectations. It is in this moment you need to go back to square one and talk through the mission of your group, and what is expected of one another.

The uncertainty that comes with feeling responsible for another’s wishes causes too much stress to create joy in your work. Because it feels like you are giving something up for another’s wishes to be fulfilled. As soon as it feels that way, you are no longer seeing yourself as a willing participant in the mission. For volunteers, the common phrases are,

“being taken for granted”

“no one explained to me what we were supposed to do”

“this feels like a job”

“I feel stressed out every time I see my name on the schedule”

Feeling a part of the team means feeling a sense of joy in fulfilling the mission together. That is a balance of authority and responsibility. People feel freedom in this environment.

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