Control: Cease or Decease

These can be scary words to hear. They are generally accompanied by legal implications.

Today, I’m sharing these from a different perspective: We need to cease trying to control everything, or we will face the death of our leadership.

I’ll illustrate this with a few questions.

  • Do you like to be micromanaged?
  • How much do you do for a micromanaging leader?
  • How engaged are you?
  • Do you like to be told what, when and how to do something?

These are all related to a leader that likes to control almost everything. What’s intriguing about these observations is that the behaviors are subtle and, in many cases, unintended.

  • A policy here, a procedure there.
  • A request to see e-mail communications before they go out to others.
  • A need to have someone from the team involved in any project that might connect the work of the leader.
  • A need to “protect” turf, etc.

We have discussed the leader, but how about us? It’s time for a gut check.

  • I can do it faster than them.
  • They don’t know enough to do it right.
  • I really think you should…
  • I do it so they don’t have to take the brunt of it.
  • I’d like for you to do it this way.
  • My idea is better.

We need to accept that these statements or thoughts are our rationalizations for exerting control.

What gives?

I’ll ask again, do I like a micromanaging leader? If the answer is no, then why in the world is it okay for me to exert control?

We must cease the need to be the hero of every movie. Otherwise, we are sending a clear message that we don’t trust others to get the job done. And without trust, there’s no leading.

Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done. – Peter Drucker



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