I grew up with control freaks around me and I naturally imbibed it and became one myself as I grew. Early on in my career, I realised that being a control freak has its advantages and disadvantages. I happened to have a team in the second year of starting my career and ended up becoming a manager a tad too early. I was young, I was learning on the job and my team looked to me for direction. As I navigated the rigors of the corporate world, I realised that my control freaky nature could either work for me or finish me. So, I decided to set things right by working on using this nature in a way that it would augment my strengths.
When you micromanage and take every decision for the team, you lose the ability to mentor your team to move ahead in their careers and take on bigger roles and you also get overloaded with work which doesn’t need your full attention but just supervision. When you cannot delegate well, you will end up spending your time and putting your effort into something that your team was hired to do. When you try and control the finer details or the smaller tasks of your team, you dis-empower them and build a space of insecurity as they will never be able to take and make decisions without waiting for a go ahead.
Its good to control these:
- Take ownership of your time and your efforts and channelize them in the right direction
Your activities, actions and decisions can be structured in such a way to optimize your output
- Your development, your career path and your environment can be controlled to help you gain insights and grow
- Your relationships, emotions and thoughts can be controlled to ensure you have a high EQ and your reactions and connections are managed well.
It’s also good to know what can and cannot be controlled and what lies beneath the need of control.
Here are a few ways to manage the need to be in the driver’s seat or to backseat drive all the time:
- Understand where your need for control comes from and get aware of what triggers this behaviour and how it can be managed
- Analyse the cause-effect nature and check if fear is the driving force for this need to control
- Stress and anxiety are also causes so it’s good to keep them in check
- Change is constant and everything can’t be perfect and the sooner you accept it, the easier it is
Let’s now look at how we see the landscape of control itself:
What you can control:
In our spaces of work and how we operate, there are things that you can control and manage and these things are directly related to your work and can impact output, so it’s good to keep this list in you radar and go after it.
These are also areas that you can influence and control that maybe one removed from your own circle of work but can still create the right impact for you.
What you should be controlling:
Your own work, the output, the quality, what you can change or correct in the natural course of work or relationships at work can all be controlled and should be so.
What you should not try and control:
What’s not for you to do or own, if it’s not something that is detrimental to the organization and your inputs have not been asked, even if your team is involved, let it be and let it take its own direction. You need to know when to own up and when to let go.
Remember the line – not my circus, not my monkeys!
A quick checklist to ensure you don’t overstep the line:
- Correct only when imperative
- Delegate and delegate well
- Don’t always want to have the last word
- It’s ok to fail and make mistakes and own up to them
- Stay off judgements and critiquing
- You can only change yourself and adapt
- Learn to be a team player and take your team along