Too Controlled 

Too controlled is out of control, too. 

We all understand that no control is out of control (hopefully). It’s an under-allocation of resources. 

Too controlled is also out of control. It’s an over-allocation of resources. 

In martial arts, when sparring with an opponent, the goal is always to get the opponent to over-allocate resources. This throws the opponent off balance and gives you a clear advantage. 

Guess who else understands this concept? Your company’s competitors, that difficult employee, that overbearing Board member, and, yes, your kids and pets. 

What does too controlled look like? 

  • Micromanaging the sequence of actions to achieve a goal 
  • Texting or emailing people relentlessly to question whether they’re on track
  • Dressing people down in group settings
  • Inflexibility on your way or your boundaries
  • Demanding that you have a say in every detail of the process

What is better? A leader’s job is to define and continuously refine the vision of success. From the vision, the leader and team members should jointly define the goals, expectations, and parameters within which to operate. From the goals, the team members should identify the operational course or sequence of action necessary to achieve the goal. The leader should establish a data dashboard, tracking metrics, and timelines. The leader and team members should regularly check in to confirm that the data and metrics indicate progress toward the goal. 

The irony is that this counterintuitive “hands-off” approach to leadership is what almost always yields the best results. 

Too controlled is out of control, too. 


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Craig A. Escamilla
Craig A. Escamilla
Craig Escamilla helps you find solutions before problems exist. With fifteen years of consulting, teaching, and senior management experience, Craig brings a wealth of practical expertise to helping others work on rather than in their businesses.

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