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Manage Your Inner Control Freak

Everyone is familiar with the control freak—everything needs to happen on their own terms, so unless the project in-hand is being led by them, it isn’t good enough. If we’re brave enough to admit it, every one of us has an inner “control freak,” but some of us give a little too much leeway to that part of ourselves, so much so that it becomes a part of our leadership style.

The “control freaks” come in many disguises. They’re the high performers, the overachievers, and the ones who know how to get things done within the organization. While these people can make highly valuable assets, they also have the ability to jeopardize the company’s growth, especially when they’re in positions of authority.

When you have a constant need to control everything, neither you, your company, nor your employees will mature at the speed you want.

You’ll notice your company will accelerate at the beginning, but the bigger it grows, the more tasks you’ll have to juggle within your organization. Since you’re unable to delegate, your company will grow at a certain point and then quickly flatline.

Here are three ways we can tame and manage the control freak within ourselves.

#1 Give yourself permission to fail

The worst thing you could tell to a perfectionist is to accept the fact that failure is just part of personal and professional growth. Instead of thinking of failure as a hindrance, consider it as a gateway to getting closer to your goals.

Failure isn’t the end of the world—failure is what makes you faster, smarter, and all the wiser. Think of failure as an absolute essential to your company. Even CEOs of companies like Coca-Cola Co. believe that if they’re not making mistakes along the way, then they’re not trying hard enough.

This first step is a bitter pill to swallow but essential to the growth of any professional, and not just those who are controlling.

#2 Figure out your priorities

The problem with our inner control freak is that it doesn’t know where or when to stop; we continue to take on different tasks until it gets to a point where we’re stretched too thin to do anything, not even the tasks we were supposed to do ourselves. One quick and easy fix for this is to prioritize your tasks.

This way, not only are you getting things done without overworking yourself, but you’re also giving your inner control freak a chance to take on other tasks once you’re done with what you set out to do in the first place. We recommend taking a look at Tim Ferriss’s strategy for effective prioritization, which involves setting a list of priorities and dedicating the first hour of your day to focusing on those tasks alone.

#3 Follow up on tasks, don’t take on tasks

If you’re in a position of authority at your company, following up with team members on the progress of some tasks and projects is part of the job. But sometimes, when we allow the overwhelming sense of control in us to take over, we might find ourselves taking on tasks rather than following up on them.

One way to stop yourself from getting that urge is to set a rigid and fixed follow-up system. Create a criteria you’ll need to follow to make sure you’re doing a proper follow-up and not crossing the line by taking on unfinished tasks or projects yourself.

This system you create should allow you to set healthy boundaries on where your job starts and where it ends.

Lastly, have faith in your team’s abilities

You might not know this, but it can be frustrating to some members of your team when they feel like you can’t trust them enough to take on tasks or projects themselves. It’s hard for us to entrust those around us, but when you give yourself and your team mates the space to make mistakes and learn from them, you’ll actually be giving yourself, employees, and the company an opportunity to grow and learn.

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