No! I need to test it out first.
No! Your mom would prefer you not to do it.
No! I need to research it more.
No! I am not sure if all the safety protocols were completed.
No! I think a hurricane is headed this way.
No! Aliens might kidnap you.
Are you a controlling leader?
- Controlling leaders dictate specific actions, masking as team decisions.
- Empowering leaders clearly sets guardrails for the team to lead within, and then gets out-of-the-way.
- Controlling leaders start from a place of suspicion, questioning motives.
- Empowering leaders start from a place of confidence, trusting motives.
- Controlling leaders hide behind subjective statements, positioning the conversation for personal gain.
- Empowering leaders highlight objective statements, position the conversation for team gain.
- Controlling leaders keep the goal unclear in order to manipulate the desired outcome.
- Empowering leaders clearly articulates the goal so the team can achieve the desired outcome.
- Controlling leaders strive to build a team of followers so that they can be the sole owner.
- Empowering leaders strive to increase ownership by building a team of diverse and driven leaders.
- Controlling leaders hold on to power. limiting the teams ability to lead.
- Empowering leaders releases power, expanding the teams ability to lead.
- Controlling leaders divide the team by positioning people against each other.
- Empowering leaders unite the team by intentionally keeping people working together.
- Controlling leaders think that their ideas are the best and only viable ideas.
- Empowering leaders embrace that the team possesses the great and differing ideas that have the ability to achieve the end goal.
Five Determining Questions
1. Can the team articulate the win?
If the team doesn’t know what the win is, what they are trying to achieve, then you are controlling the outcome. Every person on the team should be able to quickly and succinctly be able to articulate that the win. As a leader, all you have to do is walk around the office, with a cup of coffee (optional), and ask each person this question: “What is the win of the team”? The clearer and more consistently you communicate the win, the more you can let go and empower your team.
2. Whose ideas are being implemented?
At the end of a discussion or brainstorming session, write a name by every decision or idea being implemented. How many different names are on the list? If the predominant name is yours, then you are controlling. An empowering leader will spend the vast majority of time listening and asking questions with a resolve to surface the best ideas from the team.
3. How frequent is your staff turnover?
There are many different factors that leads to an organizations’ staff turnover rate. I am cautious not to over simplify this thought in just several brief sentences. What I have discovered is that when a leader empowers the team, pay scale issues, work hours, and strategy frustrations are minimized. And when a leader is controlling, these issues are magnified.
4. How do you feel when the team doesn’t latch-on to your idea?
When the team rallies around another idea, how do you respond? Remember that your reaction is not just verbal. People are watching your non-verbal cues as well. Take a personal assessment and ask trusted team members to give you feedback.
5. Are you measuring overall performance or individual tasks?
A leader that hyper-focuses on specific tasks or components of a strategy, is controlling. Period. Leaders that empower team members always focuses on the end goal and the milestones leading to that goal. They are not concerned with the specific steps
A Bold Step of Leadership
Once you have taken an honest assessment of yourself, sit down with your team, either individually or as a team, and ask them these questions. Sit. Listen. Create a safe environment for them to share openly and honestly. If you lean into the conversation, you will discover a controlling “blind spot” in your leadership.