Zen Leader Blog

The Illusion of Control

Posted by Diane Chencharick

May 30, 2012 8:03:00 AM

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I have strong control needs. In the past, I had always preferred to work alone to ensure things were done "right." And, this worked pretty well for me - I was the consummate employee! Then I got promoted.

When I moved into management, I found many ways to disguise my control issues. Delegation was painful because I never got back exactly what I would have if I'd done it myself. "In the time it takes me to explain this to him, I can have it done myself," was one of my favorite ways to logic my way around handing off work.

Luckily, I had a friend who saw the suffering I was putting myself though every time I reviewed work done by others in my department. Her question to me was, "Is it wrong or just different?" So, I started asking myself that question every time. The light bulb went on! It didn't take long for me to realize that there WAS more than one way to do something. Employees stopped trying to produce work in my "style." New thinking and creativity was coming into our work faster than ever - and our clients reaped the rewards. That one phrase opened up many possibilities for growth - not just for me, but my whole department.

The Zen Leader calls this a "flip" from controlling to connecting.  When we relinquish this control, "a larger sense of self and greater capability will emerge by connecting. It is difficult because it feels like a little death for the ego, and our ego will always put up resistance to changes in the game as it knows it… but the ego is remarkably adaptive to a larger sense of self, like a snail shedding one shell to grow another."

Are you struggling with the illusion of control? If so, you'll find The Zen Leader to be an excellent guide to open up and become connected with your greater self.


Topics: zen, the zen leader, flips, control, control issues, delegation

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This blog is dedicated to the concepts described in the book The Zen Leader by Ginny Whitelaw.  In this blog we discuss how these concepts are applied to a variety of current situations and applications, helping us all unleash the Zen Leader within us!

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