I was meeting with a friend who was concerned about, what she finally called “Control Issues.” She wants to know everything about what is happening in our church and has a deep desire to see that everything runs well. She doesn’t want to micro manage. In fact, she doesn’t have a history of that. She doesn’t want to take over or run the shop. She simply loves our church and has wonderful solutions toward making our ministry even more effective. As we talked, it dawned on me that she was struggling with the difference between having control issues and being controlling.
Having control issues means you have concern about many things and you think you have the best answer to fix any problem. Being controlling means you act out on those opinions by taking over, usually at the detriment of the person in charge. Having control issues can be good – being controlling is mostly bad. So how do you keep your control issues from turning into being controlling? Here are 5 ways:
1) Change your perspective and see that your concern can be a good thing. If it doesn’t come from a desperate need to feel important or popular, you may have some great ideas! If you have opinions about a lot of things, it may also mean that you are wired to be a good leader if you can think before you speak or act.
2) Accept the fact the you don’t always have the best answer. I’ve had to grapple with this one. I my pride, I think that my solution is the perfect one. Often times, my answer is only the start and it takes my team to really come up with the best solution.
3) Ask yourself if you have the right to dive in and take over. Sometimes, in very rare cases, it may be good and necessary to jump in but only when your responsible for that area. Most of the time, controllers are looking over the fence at other people’s business and break that boundary by offering opinions when they are not asked for or welcomed.
4) Ask permission to share you thoughts. You’re not the one responsible for every area, department or event in the world. People who are controlling feel the need to voice their opinion all the time which inserts them into other peoples business. If you have a good idea, say, “I think I could help. Do you want to hear my opinion?” This then allows for conversation because you’ve disarmed the person in charge.
5) Most importantly, resign as general manager of the universe. If you’re a person of faith, you know that God is ultimately in control of everything. You also know that the minutia of the daily grind really doesn’t matter in the large scheme of things. It may not be the end of the world to have a program or ministry or product launch bump along and not be perfect. You obviously want to do your best in any area in which you’ve been given responsibility, but God is and always will love you, even if your idea falls flat on its face.
Question: “Do you feel that you are controlling or simply have control issues?” Leave a comment …