21 Apr Get Out of My Way! Control and Leadership.
I don’t like crowds. Which I realize is slightly ironic considering my career path is laden with large scale events where hundreds and thousands and sometimes millions attend. This also means I don’t really like Christmas shopping or shopping on high traffic days, I don’t like line ups, I don’t like waiting, I don’t like being in the middle of a bunch of people. I have never liked to be held back from going where I want to go or where I can see I can go.
My Mother experienced this first hand throughout my younger years when I would disappear during outings only to show up at Customer Service stating that ‘I lost my Mom’ which resulted in a store wide announcement seeking Tanya’s Mom. But all I wanted was to go freely where I wanted when I wanted and the way I wanted. Perhaps it’s an issue of control?
Control is an interesting thing, really, I think it is based on perception. If you think you have control then you feel a certain way, if you think someone has taken it away you feel another way. Or if you feel like you are ‘being controlled’ you feel a different way. Often people construe an issue with control to mean an issue with authority. That’s not the case with me, I can submit to authority easily when I respect the person I am required to submit to and when I think they have my best interest in mind. If they don’t then they will likely see some push back, a bunch of questions and some other disengagements or rogue activities.
Not following my Mother was not about disrespect, it was about following my curiosity when I was too young to know the impact of being that kind of selfish. But when we are adults it’s our job to understand our impact and our selfishness. It’s our job to understand our insubordination and it’s our job to evolve.
If you are leading a team and perceive a loss of control then I urge you to look deeper and see if your real issue is respect and safety. If your team doesn’t know or doesn’t believe your actions are in their best interest that jeopardizes their safety which fractures their respect, because you are viewed as untrustworthy. If you are so enamoured with where you want to go that you leave them behind only to seek them out when you are ready to be found or need help, well that might explain some of the insubordination. You need to ask why they aren’t following you?
My Mother didn’t follow me because I was gone in a flash! She didn’t see me leave and I left no trail. Why would your team not follow you?
Creating a team requires a lot of consideration and attention. Control is elusive and a bit like magic. And is it really control that you are seeking? I say treat your team fairly; include them, educate them, trust them, respect them, empower them, and keep them safe. The pay back is a form of control by way of respect and trust, which translates into an ability to lead the charge with room for followers. Sometimes we just need to get out of our own way.