If you find yourself exhausted at the end of the day, feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders, ask yourself whether any of the following statements sound familiar: "I'm a perfectionist," "No one else can do it as well as I can," or "It would take too long to show someone exactly what I need; I'll just handle it myself." If so, you may have an issue with control tendencies. Unfortunately, a leader who won't allow others to contribute creates two sets of problems in the workplace.
First, it's not fair to the employee. Good team members want to take on responsibility. They relish a chance to tackle a challenge, prove themselves and learn something new. When a supervisor insists on doing everything themselves, they deny others the opportunity to grow, causing serious morale complications.
Secondly, being in charge of everything all the time is incredibly stressful. It's a misguided approach to success that leads to burn-out and unnecessary anxiety while taking a major toll on your personal life.
The following are five tips to accomplishing more by loosening your grip.
1. Realize the ability to delegate is more important than attempting to maintain absolute control.
Learning how to manage a team well is an extremely valuable skill. Supervisors who can harness the power of collective effort will do more for their company than any one individual, no matter how skilled or talented they may be. Managers have the potential to motivate and help others develop professionally, and those are far more noble goals than doing everything alone.
2. Hire and train the right people.
A "control freak" is often so busy trying to do all of the work themselves that they fail to invest the necessary time and energy into building the ideal team. It's important to find someone who will make strong contributions to the organization, not just anyone with a pulse. Provide the training your employees need to do the job. Then stand back and give them room do it.
3. Accept that there is more than one way to complete a task.
Some people don't delegate because they fear that others won't get it right. Consider the possibility that personnel will bring fresh insight and talents to a project. Be open to giving coworkers a chance to solve problems in new and different ways.
4. Understand no one wants to be micromanaged.
When assigning a project to an employee, grant them the freedom to come up with a solution rather than dictate the next precise step. Those who are not given occasions to grow professionally do the opposite - they wither or get frustrated and leave for a better job.
When managers do not offer responsibility or spend too much time finding fault with results, employees quickly learn that there's no point in trying. They are effectively being trained to sit back and let an overly involved boss do the heavy lifting, which then reinforces the supervisor's notion that the staff is unreliable. This self-perpetuating cycle starts and ends with you.
5. Relinquish martyrdom.
Oftentimes we put ourselves in situations where we take on too much because at some point, we've been rewarded for doing so, usually with an addictive mixture of admiration and pity: "Oh look, Jane worked all weekend on this project!" Instead of striving to get noticed for torturing yourself, shift your focus to being recognized for your accomplishments by doing more through strategic execution.
Bottom line, there are better ways to increase productivity for the success of your organization, the morale of your team and your own sanity. It all starts by learning to let go and sharing the task with others.
For more of my business etiquette advice, you may also like Encouraging a Creative Company Culture.