Managing Employees

Why Control Freaks Can't Delegate

Written by Jay Shapiro for Gaebler Ventures

You might think that someone who likes to be in control would be the ideal type of character to run a business. Not so. When the need for control is severe the individual actually makes a burden of all duties by refusing to believe anyone else but they could carry them out to a high standard.

If you're a person who likes to be in control of everything you've probably been told you'd make a good team leader or business owner. But would you?

It really depends on how much control you insist on retaining. If you're what's known as a control freak then you will actually find it hard to let anyone do anything.

Why is this?

It's actually due to a deep seated but wrong belief that only you can complete a given task to a high standard. If you want to run a workforce and keep a company running productively you have to let go.

You'll never be able to delegate effectively if you feel only you are fit for the task. So, here are some self help tips to assist you in changing the way you think about others and their abilities.

  • Bear in mind that although someone may not do things the way you do, they may be able to meet expectations but in a different way.
  • Don't watch over people when they are carrying out their tasks. If you are a control freak you will be tempted to interfere.
  • Forget the old adage, If you want something doing, do it yourself." That's right, forget it. It has no place in the healthy work environment. Instead tell yourself, If you want something doing ask someone capable to do it for you.
  • When an employee has done a good job as them to remind you of their merits in the future:
    • "Sam, you excelled yourself with that report, remind me to bring you in on the ABC account next week."
  • Use 'Notes to Self' to trigger you into delegating the right person for the job. Use post it notes or a computer file:
  • Jane Smith – excellent people skills.
  • John Brown – great salesperson.
  • Jenny Wise – This girl's good with people.
  • By reminding yourself of your workforce's merits, you'll be less likely to focus on why you are the best person for the job and realize that they are.
  • Only get involved if a staff member asks for your help.
  • When you are asked for help, give help. This means offering advice, or instruction or suggestions. It doesn't mean shoving the person out of their desk and doing the job for them.
  • Admit that you are control freak and ask your employees to bear that in mind. That way they'll be more likely to offer to handle things for you. "Mr Lane, I am dealing with the stock taking at the moment, while I'm in the store rooms would you like me run along to accounts and see about their stationery order?
  • Letting go of a certain amount of control means just that. You let go where you can and maintain a strong hold on the things that matter and that only you can do. The control freak boss who insists on counting every staple himself during stock take not only wastes time; he wastes the skills of others.

Let go!

Jay Shapiro is a freelance writer based in the UK. Jay has a particular interest in the emotive aspects of the entrepreneur's character. "Alongside the nuts and bolts of business, the character of the person is often the ingredient responsible for success."

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