Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What Creates Control Freaks and How to Stop Them

Control is what many of us exercise when we feel a lack of support.

Here is the problem.  The controlling leader says, 'I have to make this happen.  No one else can or will do it, so it's up to me.  And if it is up to me, then we are doing it my way." 

The person being controlled says, "But what about my input and expertise?  I signed on to be on a cooperative team, not to be a drone among other drones here to do your bidding." 

The controller responds to this by ramping up the control, fearing that someone else is trying to leverage it away with their appeal to teamwork.  The team member, if he or she has not checked out by now, pushes back against the controller even harder.  It is a vicious cycle.

So what's the solution?  In this battle of wills, the only way to win is for one or the other to get a clue.  The controller can realize his or her mistake, and as the leader begin to bring in team members, welcoming their contribution and implementing a strategy that reflects the value they add. 

Or, the team member can pro-actively support the vision of the leader and the organization more fully, so that their support is felt, usually resulting in the leader's desire to bring that person in closer as future decisions are made, where of course, the team member can be heard and exercise more influence. 

But someone has to give. 

If you are a leader, ask yourself, "Do I ramp up my attempts to control because I really know what's right, or because I feel I do not have the support I should."  If you feel support is lacking, try investing in team members rather than trying to control them.  It works much better.

If you are a team member, ask yourself, "Could part of the reason I feel like the leader is trying to control everything be that he or she has mostly received from me, guarded, cautious, tentative support at best, or maybe even apathy or disapproval?"  If this is true, try investing in your leader rather than trying to passively-aggressively manipulate them toward behavior and decisions you desire.  It works much better.

Everyone needs to remember that most control freaks feel as though they have to be that way.  The truth is they do not have to be that way.  But if the needed support is not there, and if they do not know how to invite and welcome the contributions of others, controllers are what you will get.  In most cases, both the leader and the team members have a share of the responsibility in creating control freaks. 

So here is a little pastoral counsel to both groups.  Cut it out!

May you always find the wisdom to welcome the value others can add to whatever you are leading.  And may you also find the wisdom to support and encourage and cheer on the one under whose leadership you serve.  And may we all find the wisdom to empty ourselves of ourselves just as Jesus did (Philippians 2:5-8), so that we might pour what we have of value into the lives of others who will do the same for us. 

No comments:

Post a Comment