Can a Free Spirit Survive in an Office Environment?

When you were in school, was the teacher constantly saying, “Sit down!” or “Keep your hands to yourself!” or “Go sit in the hallway until you’re ready to do your work?”

Or, were you the kid that colored the sky purple and the grass yellow and generally made drove your teacher up the wall by your inability to follow directions? You could, of course, follow directions, but you chose not to.

Some people grow out of this by the adulthood, and the lucky ones keep that free spirit. There’s no moral reason a picture needs to be colored a certain way, and it’s only convention that tells us the best way to work is to sit at a desk.

It can be difficult for someone who focuses on results to work in an office where facetime and rule following seem to be the keys to success. Here are some hints for surviving an office environment. Here are six tips for surviving and thriving in an office.

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One thought on “Can a Free Spirit Survive in an Office Environment?

  1. One job of department managers is to get all members of the department pulling in the same strategic direction and at a level of unison that makes sense. “Free spirits” are likely to go off on tangents. This has several common effects: distracting other department members, distracting the manager from the major tasks at hand, possibly even disrupting the focus of the department and preventing it from meeting targets.

    On the other hand, in some situations organizations need free spirits. These can include businesses selling creativity like advertising agencies, highly entrepreneurial organizations, significant greenfield start-ups of operations groups, and R&D departments striving to invent new things.

    Free spirits need greater management and attention than their more orthodox colleagues. A clever department manager will set undivided time aside to attend to the free spirit to ensure that he or she acts within boundaries. The department manager must also ensure that the contribution of the free spirit towards the goals of the company is at least commensurate with the time and attention that the free spirit requires. The free spirit who does not deliver required results is a drain on the department and company. Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great”, says that managers must move such people “off the bus.”

    Managers must ensure that what might appear to be free spiritedness is not actually selfishness and/or arrogance masquerading as something more acceptable.

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