Today I want to talk about control. And specifically, excessive control, control freak control. I’m very qualified to discuss this because if I leave myself on default and don’t put on my mindful cap, I’ll be running around trying to control everything and everybody.
So what is behind control? Let’s talk about a few things. One is that there is a right way and a wrong way. The right way being my way and everybody else’s the wrong way. So if we have right/wrong thinking, that means we have the gavel in our hands and we are judging everything.
What else? There is also this sense of significance that we create for ourselves. We’re important. When we’ve got ourselves controlling everything and involved in everything, then we have this sense that we’re worthy. It’s the classic mom scenario, “They need me! They need me!”
What else? Distrust is mixed up in there. Distrust of people. Distrust of the world. Not trusting people to take care of us, take care of what’s important to us, take care of themselves. So we’ve got to get in there and do that.
But those are all awesome topics for other videos. And fantastic areas to work on for your own personal growth.
What I want to talk about today is how excessive controlling tendencies or behaviors are harming you and harming your business, your team, your organization, your family, whoever you’re leading.
Let’s start with us. How is it harming us? If you are a control freak or you have control freak tendencies, then I promise you are too busy. You take on way too much. You see how it should be done and you say yes to all of these things and you’ve got a very long to-do list. Even if you try to give tasks to other people, you have a tendency to micro-manage how they’re doing it. So, already you’ve got a long list of what you are in charge of.
But then something else happens when there is a controller in the midst. When there is, other people have a tendency to just step back. They step back because they may not want to do it anyway. But also because they don’t want you breathing down their neck. They don’t want you telling them what to do or how to do it, so they step back and they kind of wait. And guess who comes in to take care of it and control it all? The controller.
So you’re already overworked. That’s how it’s harming you. One way.
But how is it harming other people? What’s happening (besides those who just flat-out rebel against you and that’s unpleasant but another video)? What else happens?
What we do is we’re robbing people of an opportunity to become fantastic versions of themselves.
By not trusting them to do tasks and do it their way, we set this doubt in motion that they’re even capable of knowing how to do it or knowing a good way to do it. So they don’t develop a confidence in themselves. And they also don’t develop initiative to be proactive to go do things. They kind of wait until you say, “Do it this way”, and they’re like, “Okay”. Instead of thinking, “I can do that. I’ll do it this way and it’ll be fine.” Or, “Hey, that needs to be done. I’m going to go do it.” They feel like they have to run things by you. And they don’t develop that confidence.
So what do we do with that?
I’m going to pose a fantastic question that you can use to help yourself let go of things a little bit. And here it is…
You’re going to pick a scenario…
•You suddenly come down with appendicitis. It’s acute, you’re going to be hospitalized, and it’s going to be weeks before you can do anything.
•You’ve got cancer and you have no idea what’s going to happen in your future but right now you need to take care of yourself.
•Your death is imminent. You’ve got a limited amount of time.
Pick a scenario that doesn’t trigger you into panic. And then ask yourself this question…
“Who do I want to leave running the show when I absolutely cannot?”
Do I want to leave people who question themselves, don’t have initiative, don’t have confidence, can’t run this show without somebody telling them what to do?
Or, do I want to leave people who are confident in their abilities, problem-solvers, proactive-thinkers. People who absolutely know they can do a great job, even if it’s not the same job as you. They know what to do and the show is going to keep running smoothly.
When you start to ask yourself that question and you start to think about the game without you in it, then you can start to let go of things. You can start to develop people. Develop them into the best versions of themselves who can take on things without you giving them instruction.
And you can let go of that control a little bit. Not that it’s going to be easy! I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy to let go of control when it’s your habit.
But if you do, you allow other people to step into something amazing and something that in the long run, frankly, is really going to help you.
So there’s a question for all you control freaks. How can you use that in your leadership, whether it’s your family or your business? And really take it up to the next level!