That is a good ten minute video, which this post is based off of, so you might want to watch it first.
I've been in my current job for about two years so the usual conversation comes up, "what do you want to do next?" Unfortunately, becoming as astronaut so I can explore Mars, or moving to Colorado, are not personal goals that my company really is set up to accommodate. On a related note I spend a lot of time reading, and a fair share of that would fall into what some people might call self help, such as that video above. I think of these things more as my continuing education and gathering more diverse perspectives on life and a career. You can think of them either way. Point being, a few weeks ago after I saw that video I've been thinking about autonomy, mastery and purpose quite a bit. Engineering, regardless of the role I have been in is excellent for mastery. There are so many aspects to master from ASME Y14.5 to process diagrams to glass filled nylon densities. However, autonomy and purpose are two things I struggle with.
What am I doing here in rural Kansas? How am I making the world better? How can I be told (in vastly different words) that I'm reckless because I'm pushing on something, then a year later be told to have a sense of urgency on the same matter? It feels like I don't have a voice in all of my work and I struggle to understand what the purpose of the work is.
The larger point is, if I am struggling with these things in my very excellent life, other people are too. I've been thinking a lot about management lately, specifically going into it. It both terrifies me, and excites me. And I am a planner, so before I make any sort of change I want to have a plan. For me specifically relevant to this blog post, how can I give someone else autonomy, mastery and purpose? I'll save answers for another day, and I hope simply asking the question would improve my leadership.