Lead - stop controlling!

It’s easy to spend your time trying to control instead of leading, coaching and motivating others. The main reason for it being easy is that it can be done without having to be too engaged in others. You don’t have to understand them, you don’t have to talk to them and you definitely don’t have to ask open-ended questions to them. Another important reason is that being in control gives you a feeling that you have accomplished something. Do you dare to continue reading?

People spend loads of time and energy on controlling. Most Managers and Project Leaders, unfortunately, spend the majority of their time controlling. They build and maintain structures, tools, and methods. They have many meetings around controlling and measuring and few around goals and creative solutions. What does controlling add to the result? Does it take you closer to your goal? If you read research in this area the sad truth is - not much! 

Why is it so important to take control? The sad and honest truth is - because you don’t trust your staff or your coworkers. Or you might not be able to understand the result they produce if you don’t get it presented the way you are used to….but I believe you’re smarter than that! 

I will write more about this interesting subject but now you will get 7 keys to a successful non-controlling leadership:

  1. Make sure you understand the goal - what you are going to accomplish. Describe it, visualize it and present it to yourself before you present it to others.

  2. For every task, you add to your agenda you should ask yourself “how does this take me closer to my goal?”. The answer is often - it doesn’t. Remove it directly even if you might feel uncomfortable with it. Be brave! 

  3. Dare to use a “less is more” approach. Remember the 80 - 20 rule. You spend 20 % of your time to accomplish 80 % of the result. Be honest about the remaining 20 %. Is it worth 80 % of the team’s effort? 

  4. For every tool or template, you add you should ask yourself how it adds to the result - and dare to be honest. I saw a folder with subfolders to the subfolders to the subfolders.… It was presented as a good example of a documentation structure. The number of folders was higher than the number of documents it contained. Good or less good? 

  5. Ask yourself if you trust your staff. If you do they can take responsibility if you just present the goal to them. Dare to admit that they are smarter or more competent than you. Because they are - at least in some areas (if you are not one of those very rare superpersons). So they can actually find better solutions than you i.e. controlling them will lead to an inferior result. This is the trickiest area of all for many managers, the failure rate is high - so be brave and strong!

  6. Never have a meeting where you question what people have accomplished - always wow the progress! If you criticise publicly you make people scared and they will produce less next time. You can talk about “the less good progress” in private via positive and constructive questions.

  7. Feel the joy and freedom of trusting your staff and being out of control! You will be watching your staff taking responsibility and deliver fantastic results! 

If you don’t believe in what I say - I’d love to hear your view!