On The Other Side of Control
"Everything in moderation" my father used to say. "Eat, drink and be happy but all in the right amount, time and place" his voice resounded. I lost my Dad when I was 34 years old. His voice still rings true in my head. Today I understand what he really meant.
While control maybe fiercely guarded by our desire to succeed and to reach perfect outcomes, we do not realize that we have something else on the other side of the dichotomy that we are giving up.
To me everything is a double-edged sword. The sword can heal or kill dependent on how we use it.
So the question that begs in my mind is "what sits on the other side of control? What am I giving up over there that I am holding on to so tightly over here "
In my mind it is "trust" As long as I control I am in charge and I decide the fate of events to occur. When I trust I let go and allow things to happen. By things I mean the ethereal forces of fate, time and energy.
Leaders who trust once they have set up the infrastructure for their people to succeed are indeed getting the best out of their people. Others who seek to control by micro managing are doing so because their lack of trust is deeply rooted within themselves. When I trust myself I am able to trust others.
And yet these are the people in organizations who say "Me? Who me?" when told that they could improve their metrics to higher performance especially on the trust scale.
It is no wonder that trust has eroded the organization today. Unfortunately this stems from the insecurity of leadership that seem to want greater levels of control for their own benefit.
As I walk through airports I often stop to scan titles of books on the best selling shelves. I observe today that there are more books on building trust in the organization that I have ever seen before.
More than 30 years ago, Dr. Aubrey C. Daniels introduced the phrase Performance Management to his clients (and eventually the world) simply as a way to describe how to motivate people to enthusiastically do what the business needs them to do. Today he calls this positive reinforcement.
Simply put if you treated a person well they would want to work for you. If I as a leader give you the infrastructure to succeed like clearly defined goals, a vision of where I am heading and systems plus people who will add value to my output then I am positively reinforcing you to churn out repetitive behaviors.
In my father's time employees worked for one organization all their lives. Their colleagues became family and the organization was deemed to be a second home. They built building block at a time in a harmonious way, thinking of the long-term sustainable road to achieve business objectives.
Today leaders treat their people just like another file in the cabinet. They run counter intuitive to what they need to do because they want control rather than trust for self motivated reasons.
Interestingly this has led to the departure of a large number of highly competent people from the corporate world. The offspring of this was the advent of entrepreneurs who felt they could do much better managing their lives with freedom and respect.
With the age of Artificial Intelligence almost upon us we need to create unique positions for ourselves. In order for a leader to control me I must allow him to do so. If I have a niche market specialization I foresee a smart leader cooperating with me and trusting me.
So the question for you is "do you have a specialization?" If not it's time to go out and create one. This will be your armor against control from your leader and will also give you great joy in your "almost indispensable" role.
My ex-boss more than 20 years ago advised me "always take on as much work as you possibly can. This will make you almost indispensable. This will augur well for your future in the organization" I think he was right!
Sylvia Fernandes is the Founder & CEO of VIA Frontiers. She is also the author of Bye Bye Black Cat - Turn Your Luck Around to Realise Opportunities. She has been operating in the Asia Pacific Region for the last 12 years and is currently based in Singapore. Go to VIAFrontiers.com
for more information.