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Leadership 101

Most people don't find much happiness working for a boss that has a controlling management style. They do however want to know that their boss is there to support them. Many leaders don't really understand the nuances of being an actively involved boss and not being controlling. That is the rare luxury of having a boss who is there when you need them and not there when you don't.

How do you not be controlling? Psychologist Edward Deci life’s work has been researching the effects of motivation and control over the past few decades. What happens when you come across as “controlling” to someone who works for you?

What Deci uncovered is stunning. In his studies detailed in his book Why We Do What We Do, Deci found that when a person feels pressure or a feeling of control, their performance worsens, the quality of their outcome worsens. And if the effects couldn’t get any more harmful, the person also learns less during the process and doesn’t enjoy doing the task as much, itself, as well.

Controlling leaders are also more likely to be disorganized due in large because of constant calling/texting and emailing in fragmented ways. How to stop being controlling? First step is to trust your team. They were hired for a reason, now let them do their work. Secondly, calm the f*&% down. Most of us are not curing cancer and saving the world. Your not making anything better by making everything URGENT! Find your Zen at work. Your team will start to reflect your behavior and everyone can start to move in a positive, forward motion. Finally, schedule a touch base with each person on your team at the beginning of each week. Block out an hour for phone or in-person. Many weeks you won't need that much time. Let them know to bring a list of things they need answered and want to discuss during your time together. They should keep a list rolling from the last touch base. They will review their list first and then you will go through your list. People listen and are more present, if you clear their list first. Be sure to start each call/meeting with pleasantries. Nothing makes people feel less appreciated, then if you are only interested in them from a business perspective. Do not answer calls/texts/emails during your time together. Give them your undivided attention. Once the time is done, let them know that you are here for time sensitive matters as the week progresses. The remainder of the week is to execute tasks at hand. You also can do yours. Then you have to stick to it. You need to make your list as the week goes on, as well. Now there is going to be exceptions to every rule and each team member will find their personal rhythm with you. But what is important to note is that an organization's productivity suffers most from controlling managers. Second to controlling is disorganization and third is ineffective communication skills. Also noteworthy is top talent is attracted to the companies that have employees that are happy, calm and productive. It is the greatest form of recruitment.

Through your ability to trust, manage your time and stay organized, it will help your team learn the same skills and behaviors. Leading by example is the best form of teaching. I'm willing to bet it increases your productivity, as well!

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