What Does Over-Control Get You?

jtpedersen_321-Ignite_ControlAre you a control freak?  Do you feel the need to tell your teams how to do things?  Are you frustrated by always feeling you can do the job better than anyone else?  If you allow your behavior—how you manage your teams—to reflect these frustrations the result is likely over-control.

The question then, is, do you really get what you want if you’re over-controlling?  My thinking came in response to an article I read, The Illusion of Control.  As noted later in the piece, too much control stifles creativity and flexibility.

When leading my teams, when giving guidance, I make sure my teams understand: I am stating or suggesting the direction I believe we need to take.  It is up to them to decide how to do it.  I want their best efforts.

If I tell my teams how to do something, I’ve done two things.  One, I’ve told them how and little or no creativity will be forthcoming.  Two, I don’t know everything nor do I want to.  I’ve now robbed everyone (my team, as well as our benefactors)  of the ‘best efforts’ possible, making ‘me’ the lowest common denominator.

Now, if I’m asked for my opinion on how to do something, I’ll share it.  But I work very hard not to pre-bias results as a result of my own comments.

image credit: Ahmed Al-Shukaili

2 Responses to “What Does Over-Control Get You?”

  • Andrew Stein June 17, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    So True, JT. Harry Kraemer in his book “From Values to Action” points this out too. In listening to him speak the other day to our Thrive Chicago group, he shared that the single most significant indicator of over-controlling leadership is the ability (or inability) to listen, ask questions, and avoid saying anything about your opinion, until others’ input has been heard.

    More often than not, I agree with you and Harry, that someone else usually has a better idea than the one you would have driven if left alone on a deserted island. Since we’re in teams, and we work together, there’s no room for over-controlling leadership style. That is to say, if your company wants you to lead so they can be successful. Not all companies are on that path, of course.

    • Andrew Stein June 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      Say, I should mention that I wrote a book review of Harry Kraemer’s “From Values to Action” book on my blog, http://www.SteinVox.com. Harry is a reluctant writer, now a Kellogg School of Management teacher, he was formerly the CEO of Baxter International. A link to my book review is at: http://j.mp/MiQbox .

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