If you can’t resist the urge to control every detail of every plan, you will be the single greatest lid on your team’s potential.
Leaders who feel the need to personally involve themselves in the minutia of the team’s operation rarely call themselves a “control freak”, but without realizing it, their need to control is impeding the very results they want so desperately to see.
I once worked for the president of a large company who took the moniker of “control freak” to an absurd level. As an example, despite having a competent sales manager in place, he still wanted to look at every single order generated by the sales department and would publicly berate sales people if he found a spelling mistake on an otherwise impeccable (and very large) sales order.
Any leader can succumb to the urge to be a bit of a control freak, but you can resist the temptation with these freakish habits of empowering leaders:
1. Be a Results Freak
When you have assigned the task to the team, come to an agreement on the expected results, and be relentlessly focused on seeing the team achieve those results.
2. Be a Vision Freak
Empowering leaders keep the team on track by ensuring that the big picture is kept in focus at all times. They’ll bring their best game when they know how their role matters in the grand scheme.
3. Be a Values Freak
Values define how people are treated. You don’t have to control how the team carries out the plan, but you do need to obsess over how they treat people.
4. Be a Coaching Freak
The team needs to know you are there to help them, if and when required. This is more than having an “open door”. This is proactively approaching your team and saying, “I am here to help any way I can”.
When the urge to control the process becomes almost overwhelming, pause…take stock…and re-adjust your focus. Lift your gaze off of the operations of the plan and focus instead on the results, on the vision, on the values, and on your role as a coach.
You’ll soon be saying ‘good-bye’ to control, and ‘hello’ to life-giving empowerment.