March 19, 2013

Are You a Control Freak?


Last week we learned three strategies for establishing good priorities. An out-of-control schedule creates a priority problem that can quickly deplete our energy levels and productivity if we allow it. How we choose to manage our life matters. How we lead and manage others is also important. Most leaders engage in one of two primary approaches:

Centralized Leadership

A centralized leader considers his gifts and abilities better than most and feels a need to place his personal stamp of approval on all decisions. A centralized leader is a micro-manager, releasing little authority and creating an overwhelming workload of meetings, phone calls, and e-mail correspondence. Centralized leaders control and frustrate others because all decisions must be approved before moving forward. This creates a backlog of unfinished work, deadline delays and other roadblocks to success. 

I call this an Atlas mentality, an obsession with control that creates a false sense of self-importance. Atlas was the character in Greek mythology charged with carrying the weight of the heavens for eternity. 

Decentralized Leadership

A decentralized leader understands the wisdom of empowering team members to lead. He knows he does not have a corner on all the right answers and willingly shares the responsibility of leadership with others. With the right people sold on the mission and vision of his organization, this leader trusts his team to lead in their areas of expertise. He delegates and does not obsess over the details.

The centralized leader turned control freak does lasting damage and the time to change is now! This is how you can step into the benefits of decentralized leadership today:

  • Delegate detail-oriented or time-wasting tasks to others to increase your focus on important commitments.
  • Equip coworkers with what they need to be self-directed and emphasize their value as collaborators.
  • Celebrate team successes.
  • Find the aspect of your work you’re most passionate about and pour your energy into it.

As a decentralized leader, I’ve found an immense freedom in doing what I love. I enjoy public speaking, coaching and have the incredible opportunity to travel across the country to meet with leaders and organizations. This freedom has come at the price of many smaller projects that threatened my overall role as a coach and leader. I turned those potential stumbling blocks into opportunities for others to conquer on my team. I couldn’t do the work I’m passionate about without their exceptional contribution.

Everyone is happier with the weight of the world off their shoulders and an important step is eliminating any of these control freak tendencies. For the next three months, I’m offering you or a friend you refer a free Enemies of Excellence Growth Guide PDF (a $10 value) when you Subscribe to the Coachwell bog. It’s simple. Just go to the top of the Coachwell home page and select Subscribe. For more actionable resources, check out my book The Enemies of Excellence.

To your excellence,

Coach Greg