By Joe Moore

Do you find a common behaviour of leaders and supervisors who are controlling is they make many observations starting with:     “The trouble with people is…”

You may find they go on to rationalise their heroic, impatient “to get anything done you have to do it yourself” chaos with comments about not having good people, some can’t be trusted, the value of being a perfectionist, the only one who gets it around here. The intelligent designers of life at work?

One of their fallacies is they think they are the ones in control. You have to wonder. The person who ends up doing or redoing most of the work, who has to make most if not all the decisions, who knows so much – surely they are the ones being manipulated by those who report to them.

The vaunted controllers manipulated into choosing to get things done themselves? Let me get this straight – you think you are controlling people because you let them decide you need to do all the important work? Meanwhile here you are – so involved in doing the work you pay others to do you are neglecting what you need to do.

The most difficult thing about leaders who are controlling is not about convincing them to give up some control – it’s to convince them they don’t have control anyway. Once they understand that – it’s easier to give up something they find they don’t even have.

Here’s a gentle way to start trusting yourself and others more…. Ask.

Ask those who report to you for their ideas on anything they can do that they think you are checking on too heavily. Choose one item per team member and sanction them to do it themselves. Next week – pick another one.

Give both of you the chance to make a success of the task and make sure you are both absolutely clear by:

  1. Defining the task clearly
  2. Outlining the scope of the task
  3. Agreeing a deadline for follow up and a deadline for completion

Monitoring work to distraction – what else might you be disrupting?

Joe is the founder and principal of Kimber Moore & Associates. He and his team are highly skilled in helping leaders and staff deal with uncertainty, change, complexity and conflicts. You can contact Joe here.


About B-Cause

B-Cause is published by Cause and Effective. We help good causes find and attract effective leaders.

Thats our take on things. Over to you, please add to the discussion.

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