In light of Independence Day in the United States, this month’s theme is…independence. 

Are there ways in which you can be more independent and productive during your 9 to 5?

Take a minute and think of actions that you take (or don’t) that prevent you from taking control of your duties and responsibilities, as well as being a leader.

Whether you are a supervisor or an employee, encouraging and promoting more independence in the workplace is beneficial for everyone. Supervisors might want to learn how to encourage autonomy from their employees and step back to be able to micro-manage less. Employees may want to be micro-managed less and show that they are able to be successful with the decisions they make on their own. 

Being independent in the workplace and showing that you are a competent and dynamic employee means a lot. Not only will so increase your self-esteem, but it will also help you get ahead in the game. Displaying your leadership skills, your ability to problem-solve, and your willingness to learn new things to stay ahead in the industry will go a long way in the eyes of a supervisor. 

Keep reading to learn ways in which you can improve your autonomy and impress your supervisor.

Become more independent at work in 5 easy steps

1. Educate yourself

Staying ahead of industry trends is imperative. Ask your supervisor about what opportunities for development are available. Go online and enroll in free or inexpensive courses to boost your understanding of industry topics. The more knowledge you master, the more likely you will take ownership of your own learning. This proactive learning will show your supervisor that you are a go-getter and engaged with the company’s goals. 

Adopt a growth mindset. 

“Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset,” explains Carol Dweck, author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, at Harvard Business Review. “They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts),” (Payscale). 

Education and moving forward are keys to independence!

2. Make your voice heard

An article in India Today discusses what true independence in the workplace means; being able to speak openly and honestly is one example. 

Empowering employees and allowing them the freedom to take decisions in their areas of responsibility, nurture and encourage independent ideas and creating a culture that allows them to question, disagree, debate and decide, goes a long way in shaping their growth as a professional. Allowing them the freedom to voice their opinions and concerns, offer suggestions and feedback, share ideas, and debate strategies build confidence and enable better decision-making.

In what ways can you ensure that you are heard?

3. Take responsibility

There are going to be times when you make mistakes. It says a lot about a person’s character when they take responsibility for something that has happened—whether they were to blame for the majority or not. 

It takes humility and courage to stand up and admit that you made a mistake, especially if it’s a big one. Being able to do so shows that you own your work.

Employees can also take responsibility in a different way by taking on new duties and tasks. Volunteering to be the one when it’s apparent no one wants to, demonstrates your ability to be a leader and a team player. 

Both of these types of responsibilities will prove that you are an independent and reliable employee.

4. Stay organized 

Being organized (physically and mentally) will help you stay on track toward work independence. It’s can be embarrassing to have to constantly rely on others to find a document or remember what time a conference call is. Keep a physical and digital calendar, clean up your workspace, organize documents, and label anything and everything if that helps. No one appreciates frequently being asked for things that the other person should be able to do on their own.

Don’t be that person

5. Make a move

Inquire about telecommuting or simply moving your workspace to increase productivity. Many people find that they can be more independent and get more work done without dozens of other people around. Obviously, this may not be an option for everyone; for those that cannot work from home and need more privacy, think about putting up a partition or move things around to give yourself more space. When employees have fewer distractions, they are more likely to think for themselves and rely on themselves when making big decisions. Less distraction also means more good work being done! 

Also, for some people, getting away from negative influences is a good move. Employees who procrastinate, goof off too much, or have a negative vibe might rub off on you. Of course, you can have fun at work—just don’t let it affect your goals.


There are a variety of ways in which you can increase or display your independence at work. You may want to intrinsically work on being a more autonomous person in the workplace for personal reasons, or you might simply be interested in career advancement and want your supervisor to see the great things you can do. Either way, everyone benefits from your hard work on improving your independence and productivity.

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