Control Freaks and the Illusion of Control



You run a business or a department, and you are the kind of person who runs a tight ship with no leniency for the random. You know it all, and almost any decision is run by you – just to make sure. Because of this, you work extremely long hours since you’re too paranoid to trust others in making correct decisions. Three weeks of vacation? Forget it. Not on your watch. Imagine all the things that could go wrong, right?

The problem with this scenario is that a lot of things have already gone wrong by this point. You have become a Class A control freak. On your side, it may seem like it’s the obvious choice, but on the receiving end it’s a killer, with initiative, loyalty, creativity and “spark” being the first victims. Imagine being told, in actions – not words, that you are not smart enough to make any decisions yourself. How is that going to inspire anyone? How is that going to earn trust, loyalty, and the occasional urge to go the extra mile for you? You are right; it will not have that outcome. And therein lies the problem with being a control freak. Because the majority will simply check out mentally, thinking, “Why even bother taking initiative if it is rejected or ignored every single time?”

Knowing your business is always a good thing, but controlling it too tightly is not. Of course, there is a chance that you truly are the best at everything in your company, that every decision should be run by you because on judgement you outperform everybody. Naturally! You are the only one who trains this skill, so your capabilities should be better.

If you control your team or business too tightly, your capabilities become the cap limit for performance because no one else is trying to push this limit. In the end, you lose the control of your business when you try to control it too rigidly.​

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