Danger: Control Cataracts, part 2

May 27, 2011 — Leave a comment

As outlined in  Control Cataracts (Part 1) ,  Control Cataracts is a disorder that occurs in a leader’s vision. It happens when someone becomes desperate to maintain control at the expense of the group or the organization. He or she becomes reluctant to share any measure of authority for fear of losing control. This results in a blindness to the value that could be added by those around them, as well as a short-sightedness as to what success really looks like. Competent employees do not appreciate Control Cataracts; this leadership style erodes confidence and motivation, and will eventually drive them away.

Improve leadership skills, and reduce the tendency to micromanage in your organization, with the following strategies:

1) Expect more of your employees; encourage them to have powerful expectations of themselves. Knowing that you believe in them and hold them to a higher standard is vital to improving organizational performance.

2) Improved communication will reduce the acute nature of Control Cataracts. Encourage those with the disorder to hold feedback sessions with employees in which they, first, compliment them for something they have achieved or done well.  Only then can they provide feedback and ask questions about an issue that may concern them. Finally, encourage your micromanagers to finish the session with another commendation. By finishing the feedback sessions on a positive note, they will preserve employee’s dignity and commitment to the job.

3) Provide opportunities for employees to participate in and learn new things, thus further developing them into the type of employees who are increasingly more capable and trustworthy (with less need to be closely managed).

4)     When working across boundaries and borders, create an environment where those with Control Cataracts must acknowledge variant work environments in order to succeed. Develop programs that encourage micromanagers to leverage the expertise of employees who understand cultural differences and have solid experience in different environments.  This will broaden the view of those with the disorder and help them to understand the need to empower employees with unique experiences and knowledge to facilitate success across the organization.

5)    Create a safe environment for innovation, creative ideas and new processes. Never be afraid to have a team of people who are smarter than you – when the team/organization wins, you win!

An empowering leadership style, far from threatening a leaders position, provides a way to leverage not only the talent inherent in the organization, but also the high caliber of performance employees will produce if given an opportunity.   Combining employees potential with that of leadership will dramatically increase overall performance. Use self-fulfilling prophesy to your advantage and expect great things of your people – then get out of their way so they can prove you right!

All aspects of the leadership journey are part of an insightful learning process. We never “arrive” and we are always gathering new information to apply. As leaders, it is meaningful to reflect on our journey, seeking ways to improve our methods and style. As you reflect on your own journey, ask yourself:

What you have learned and how you can help avoid Control Cataracts in your organization?

Please engage the discussion and let us know how you help avoid Control Cataracts in your organization. Feel free to contact me at  Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back soon for the next post on Leadership Across Boundaries and Borders.


Title adapted from talk given by R. Barnes.


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Sheri is The Global Coach, founder of Luminosity Global Consulting Group, Global Executive Coach, Speaker, Writer and Global Business and Cultural Expert.

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