"Need to Control"
Your Success Thought for the Week of April 30, 2008

Years ago I heard a comedy routine from George Carlin about his views of freeway drivers:

  • If a car speeds past me I think to my self, "What a jerk; he's going to kill someone with his out-of-control speed."
  • If a car is too slow in front of me I think to myself, "What a jerk; he's going to kill someone with his lackadaisical driving."

Carlin's point is that he is the only one who truly knows how to drive. I often listen to leaders who feel the same way-they are the only ones who know how to lead.

Specifically, the debate between 'controlling' vs. 'free-for-all' (or lackadaisical) leaders seems to be a popular one these days. While neither extreme works, I witness more leaders in overly 'controlling' roles than the opposite.

The costs of being over-controlling are high as David L. Dotlich explores in his new book Head, Heart & Guts, How the World's Best Companies Develop Complete Leaders:

"In an unpredictable, complex, and interdependent world of untangle outputs, the leadership default is to exert control. At the extreme, 'control freaks' rob others of initiative and creativity; their micromanaging style fosters a sense of cynicism and risk-aversion.

We know one brilliant leader who is obsessed with the details of his organization. He enjoys running meetings with thorough agendas, prides himself on mastering the details of everyone's operations, and knows the budget inside and out. What he misses, however, is the human energy that real motivation creates. His attempts to measure output stifle creativity and he is unable to unlock the passion and commitments that drives real execution."

In your fast-paced days, it may seem a gift to your team to take control and make things happen 'now,' rather than allowing your staff time to get up to speed with you. While today's goals may be accomplished, tomorrow's goals of developing a strong, competent, highly motivated staff are not.

Leaders who take too much control often know who they are yet just can't seem to stop their well developed habits. In addition to controling things at work they may also take unnecessary control of their children, friends, and social interactions.

Control discourages growth, period. The damage your controlling nature creates may be more widespread than you realize.

This week, consider areas of your life where you might be exercising too much control, thus stunting the growth in creativity, individual unfoldment, character and productivity in your teams or family.

This could be a perfect time to put a new method of operating in place. Experiment with letting go in a few instances and see what happens. Those around you may surprise you favorably given the opportunity to show their true and brilliant colors.

Enjoy your discoveries and have a superb week.


Ann - 02-08 P. S. We'd love to hear how you used our 'Success Thought of The Week' in your business or personal dealings.

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Permission is granted to either reproduce copy or distribute "Your Success Thought for the Week for April 30, 2008" as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author is attached. The author is Ann Golden Eglé, Golden Visions Success Coaching, LLC, 541.385.8887, PO Box 1696, Bend, Or. 97709. www.goldenvisionscoaching.com

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