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How do you lead with influence not control?

How do you lead with influence not control?

How do you lead with influence not control?

Last week we started taking Key Steps to overcome micromanaging by recognising the problem and understanding it better. We identified the main reasons we can fall into the trap in the first place and we recognised the signs, triggers and negative impact of micromanaging. If you need a recap of last week’s Key Steps you can view it here . Now let’s take Key Steps to break the habit and lead with vision not control so we can…

‘be the difference that makes the difference.’

  1. Let go. No, this does not mean that you drop your standards of excellence. But it does mean that you allow the talented people that you employed to achieve excellence without trying to take control of how they should do it and checking on them every step of the way. Yes, you must let people know what is needed, why it is important and the deadlines that must be met. The criteria for successful achievement should be transparent, your employees should have the skills to do it and you should be there to offer support when needed. In other words, you delegate without abdicating because letting go does not mean that you forget about your team and what they are working on, but it does mean that you refrain for telling them exactly how to get to the end goal. Instead, you lead with influence and vision. Over time, as you see your people being successful – without you micromanaging – it will create an upward spiral of confidence and enable you to…
  2. Trust your team more. Remind yourself that there are probably many aspects of their job you can’t do better (either you have forgotten how to, systems have changed or it’s not your area of expertise etc.) or that you wouldn’t want to do or have capacity to do. So, let them get on with being successful in their roles. When your team members can be independently successful and are allowed the flexibility to find their own ‘how,’ they become more confident and more motivated. This leads to increased engagement and better performance. It’s a WIN-WIN you can’t afford to miss out on. Where there are aspects of their job that you can do much better and they are really struggling…
  3. Train, coach and/or mentor your people. Start by reminding yourself that you do not have the time to do two jobs so there is no point in thinking how much better you could do it. It is wasted energy. Use your energy to teach people how to do their jobs better. Be careful here, this should not be about you nit picking, aiming for perfection and constantly criticising. People need to have the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. This can be challenging for a perfectionistic leader. If you struggle with this, we can definitely work with you so you can manage yourself and your anxiety better. The aim is to transfer the skills you have and then allow them to get to the end result THEIR way and not always your way. You want to ignite their creativity, motivation and build their confidence. This will require a different approach for different people, and you’ll need to assess whether they are lacking the skills or is it the will and take appropriate approach to achieve sustainable learning and lasting improvement.Remember that you do not have to do this alone. Last year, we worked with one of our big banks in South Africa because the senior leaders felt that the lower levels of management were not thinking critically enough and solving problems proactively and independently. They expressed that they had tried to help them and had not seen progress. In fact, they questioned if it was really possible to teach people these skills. This is where we came in and this is the feedback we received after the learning intervention…

    “The guys have been doing playbacks on the problems they’ve identified and presenting their business case they learnt how to create during your programme. It’s clear that they have learned a great deal from their sessions with you, Sharon. They still have a way to go, but it’s nothing some practise and support on our end can’t help solidify. Thanks again for your assistance and guidance. It’s made a big difference and is greatly appreciated.”

  4. Be gentle with yourself as you unlearn. Easing up on others starts at home! When letting others do things that you do well, that you are confident in and that are key to the success of the team, it can be hard to let go. The habit of micromanaging is bound to rear its head as you unlearn. It’s okay. Being a subject matter expert is a seductive role to be in and you are not the only manager who does this (and it is often with positive intent). So, if you slip up, just try again. It can be useful to ask your team for input on what they need from you and invite them to let you know if they feel micromanaged. It takes a powerful leader to be able to admit their mistakes and asks for feedback. This will further build trust and a spirit of collaboration and support in your team. It sends out the message that no-one needs to be perfect and we are all learning. This learning allows you to…
  5. Focus on your vision and purpose. Lead with vision not control. What got you to where you are today is not what is going to keep you there or move your career forward. As a leader, your role is to develop the vision and strategy and empower and grow your team to be high-performing and capable of achieving results without you. It’ll reduce your stress and, as they grow and move up the career ladder, you can too. Remember, if you want to go fast, go alone, but to go far, we need to go together and…

“be the difference that makes the difference


NOTE: The information in my blog may be freely shared and re-used in any online or offline publication, provided it is accompanied by the following credit line: This was written by Dr Sharon King Gabrielides, and originally appeared in her free weekly  ‘Key Steps Food for Thought Blog’ available on the Key Steps website.

Dr Sharon King Gabrielides

About Dr Sharon King Gabrielides

Sharon is a dynamic facilitator, speaker and executive coach with over 20 years’ experience in leadership and organisational development and transformation. She is a registered Education, Training and Development Practitioner (ETDP), holds an Honours degree in Psychology and practices as an NLP master practitioner. She is also one of only three women in South Africa to hold the title of Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) – it’s the Oscar of the speaking business.

Sharon’s PhD thesis contributed a framework for holistic and sustainable leadership development that has been published by Rutgers University in the USA. She is faculty of Henley Business School and highly sought-after by leading corporates because she works hand-in-hand with them to create sustainable results and long-term success. Sharon has become known for her practical approach, useful tools and genuinely caring manner. She is really looking forward to working with you and taking Key Steps to ‘be the difference that makes the difference.’


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