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  • Writer's pictureDoug Fleener

Control and Leadership

Addicts and alcoholics have no control issues. KIDDING! We want to control everything, although our history shows we often weren't good at controlling things—especially our drinking and using. My sponsor once told me that a doorknob could run my life better than I did. At first, I was offended, but I sure couldn't argue the point. My life before I got into recovery was a disaster.

Over time I got pretty good at acceptance and letting go. Well, until I started moving into higher leadership positions. My hard work and getting things done were the reasons I got promoted. Now all of a sudden, I had to get things done through others.

That, of course, brought my control issues back to the forefront. Three things helped me become a better and less controlling leader:

1. Focusing on the outcome rather than the how to do something. It's one thing if I needed to teach someone how to do a task, but most of the time, I just wanted things done my way. I had to let that go. My way was not always better.

2. Set better expectations. I found it hard to believe my employees weren't mindreaders! Once I got better at communicating my expectations, my employees got better. Strange, huh?

3. Take more responsibility for the outcomes. There's a big difference between responsibility and control. If someone or a project is falling short, it's on me to help the people get it right. The easiest way to do this is to keep looking and moving forward. If you look backward, the conversation becomes more blaming and complaining. Those are almost always the result of control and not taking responsibility.

So let me ask, how is your control issue doing?

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