January 19, 2018

Are we (or they) holding things back by controlling too much?

Four business people in a discussionWe tend to feel uncomfortable if we don’t have complete control of the situation we are in. And yet, sometimes – often? – we need to let go and accept that if the team as whole is going to make progress, we can’t keep a tight rein on everything.

If we have to have control, we may hold things back.

In ourselves, we perhaps need to be clearer about what discretion we truly need to retain, and be more prepared to let the group’s energies take matters forward on the rest.

I know I sometimes have needed to remind myself of that.

With others, we may need to help them see that their self-esteem or sense of self doesn’t have to be synonymous with their control of the situation. We may need to help them be content without full authority; help them be strong enough in themselves to do that, which isn’t necessarily easy.

There’s something about a true team player being ready to let go when that’s the right thing to do; to put the issue “in the middle” for all to work on together.

What about you?

How do you deal with someone holding things back by controlling too much? (Or yourself?)

The double benefit of focus, and how to achieve it

Man thinkingSome lessons keep coming round, for me they do anyway…

Getting focused has a double benefit—probably more than double actually.

Dropping some tasks—disengaging from some projects or organisations—has the obvious benefit of freeing up some time.

But it’s much more than that…

Having fewer things to cover, and the opportunity to focus, makes us so much more efficient on the things we do decide to do.

It’s not so easy letting go though.


I’ve learned, time and again, that if I’m ambivalent about something, it means I should drop it. When I finally do, I often wish I had done so sooner.

Maybe that’s how having a real break and time off works: Once we’ve walked away from everything for a time, our choice is then what to pick up, rather than what to drop. That’s quite different emotionally.

What about you?

How do you convince yourself to let go of something that seemed important, or maybe still seems important?

One thing at a time—how hard can that be?

Woman leader…em, quite hard.

That’s my experience anyway.

Doesn’t mean it isn’t the right principle though, just that it isn’t that easy to achieve, especially if our vision isn’t very clear.

I remember…

The amazing effect of putting some delays in the start-up sequence of a computer system so that all the processes weren’t competing with each other as they launched themselves. By serialising things properly, the start-up time went from the best part of an hour to just a few minutes.

Putting in delays speeded things up.

That seems all backward.

And it can be emotionally difficult to put some things off so that we can do other things properly now.

But that’s what we need to do because focus is a kind of letting go.


What could you do with scheduling out?

If you want to be in control…

Three senior managersIf you want to be in control, you’ll need to be smart.

The more you want to be in the driving seat of the relationship, the harder it’ll be for the other party to bring their thinking, their knowledge and their ideas to bear on the issue at hand.

And that means…

It’ll be down to you.

You’ll need to make the right call.

Every time.

Might be better to let go a little.