I am taking a few days vacation over New Year's to visit my in laws and relax with the family and their Shelties. The two dogs LOVE to herd anything; sheep, people, cars, other dogs... They do whatever they can to ensure that they know who is doing what, and do everything they can to keep the sheep in line. For anyone who has ever had a Sheltie, you know this to be true. It reminds me of working with a number of teams and their manager's leadership styles.
There is an exercise that I use when I do workshops that is a great indicator of how much a person tries to control a situation, and helps define qualities of leadership.
The game creates multiple patterns and stimulus, all of which are very difficult to track. As participants do the exercise and attempt to control the situation, it eventually leads to failure. The lesson that comes out of it; if you do your part, and trust that others will do theirs, then you can let go of trying to control everything. This begins a conversation about team trust and micromanagement.
As you begin the New Year and start to reflect on your own style of managing, ask yourself:
1. What am I trying to control that is out of my control?
2. What can I let go of, and trust that other people can and will take care of ? (And maybe there is a deeper management issue here with those employees to discuss the lack of trust that they will have follow through.)
Here's to a happier 2015, with less need to 'keep all the sheep in line.'
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