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Why Your Workplace Should Promote Psychological Ownership


Most leaders will tell you that there’s a delicate balance to be struck between providing enough direction to employees without micro-managing. Some of your people will naturally need more or less structure than others simply because they’re different humans. Through experience, open communication and their own emotional intelligence, an effective can learn how to ensure that their team members don’t feel they’re flailing or that there’s too much guesswork involved in their job, while giving them enough space to be genuinely invested in the outcomes of the work they’re doing.


Empowering employees to contribute within the scope of their own work and toward the organization’s Big Picture benefits the organization, both through the ideas they bring forward and because it results in improved employee engagement. Psychological ownership is a term that describes a feeling of possession toward or over something; in this context, specifically a high degree of engagement and investment in one’s job tasks, role within the team and/or the organization.


What contributes to psychological ownership? Regardless of the role, everyone should feel some degree of agency over their role and responsibilities. Would every employee in your organization agree that they have…

  • a voice at the table;

  • space and time for creativity;

  • sense of making meaningful contributions to the larger process;

  • their ideas taken seriously;

  • confidence in their skills/ideas, reinforced by peers and leaders;

  • space and support to make mistakes; and

  • open, non-threatening communication channels with their leadership team?


Optimizing psychological ownership in your team will fuel engagement, and truly serves as a win-win: employees will feel happier and more connected with the work they’re doing and the organization, and it’ll ultimately boost the company’s bottom line. How is your organization stimulating psychological ownership in its people? I’d love to hear your experiences in the Comments section below.


Have a great week! Thanks for reading.

 

Elizabeth Eldridge is a Psychological Health & Safety Consultant based in southern New Brunswick, Canada. In addition to frequent keynote speaking and corporate training on mental health she is the owner/operator of Arpeggio Health Services, Atlantic Canada’s largest provider of public mental health trainings. Learn more at elizabetheldridge.com, summitcorporatewellness.com and arpeggiohealthservices.com.

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