Controlling Your Personal Control Needs

May 4, 2010 -- Sal Silvester

I recently wrote a three-part series on reluctant new managers. One cause of reluctance that I wrote about was due to a fear of losing control (which often leads to a reluctance to delegate, hand over responsibilities, etc.).

I recently came across an article called When Teams Work Best by Frank LaFasto and Carl Larson and within their article they deal with a similar issue head on. And I quote: "The best way to manage your personal control needs as team leader is to demonstrate behaviors that share control.

  • Stay focused on issues - as opposed to positions - during important discussions. Allow the discussion to unfold at a pace that is comfortable for team members.
  • Ask well-thought-out questions more often than you prescribe solutions. Ask yourself, "Will what I'm about to say further the discussion, inhibit it, or end it?" As you ask questions and listen, you'll acquire insights that may make a difference in the quality of solutions.
  • Repress the impulse to have the final say about every decision. Determine which decisions are critical, and carefully choose the occasions when you use your power to influence outcomes. In the spirit of collaboration, avoid the urge to maneuver the team toward a predetermined solution.
  • Check with the members of your team during important decision-making processes. Ask them if they feel all perspectives are being valued and whether they believe the solution will be the product of the team's best collective thinking - theirs as well as yours.
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