When Controlling Leaders Get in the Way

Strict boss talking with secretary

Written Transcript/Summary – When Controlling Leaders Get in the Way

AYL Podcast #5 Summary

Category: Leadership Style

When Controlling Leaders Get in the Way

Introduction: Welcome to the Advance Your Leadership podcast with Leadership Coach Bev Benwick… A dialogue meant to enhance the leadership of our listeners….a contribution to greater business success

All podcasts along with additional information are available on Bev’s website at advanceyourleadership.com

Hello – Bev Benwick here from Advance Your Leadership – Welcome.

I would like to chat today about leadership styles. More specifically I will be discussing one particular style – the controlling leadership style.

Actually I refer to it as Command and Control. Others may refer to it as a Coercive style, but whatever the name, this style has its negative aspects, but also its positive influence on people, and the overall company/or organization

What do I mean by Command and Control – Here are the behaviors we see most often from this style of leadership…

      • A highly ”telling” style.
      • Unwillingness of sharing the authority.
      • Highly directive.
      • Usually the controlling leader is overwhelmed….their plate is more than full.
      • Generally they are poor delegators? Why – no one else can do the work like they can – no one else can get things done as effectively and efficiently.
      • In their style they do not show up as promoting collaboration.
      • Often leaders who operate heavily from this style are not good relationship builders in the company/organization.

There is a positive aspect to leading from Command and Control…

      • In times of chaos….this leader’s highly directive style can readily move people along to meet deadlines.
      • Think of it like this and I will take it out of our normal work context…… If there was a fire or a massive disaster of some sort, who would you want leading the process? This is the leader who with take charge and bring order to chaos in an efficient and timely fashion.
      • Sometimes, in my role as an Executive Coach I have subordinates or peers of such a leader who tell me – but I know exactly where I stand with this person because they are so direct – and I like that about dealing with them. And yes…sometimes I (Bev) see this as true. But, from my years of coaching leaders I often find that while direct, there can be a big piece that is held back by such a style, particularly if the style is in place to strategically push people away. I am speaking here, where it may have been a modis operandi for years – as a way to protect oneself – for whatever that means to this leader. In such a case….you may never really hear exactly what they think relative to the relationship or relationships around them. Their actual plans for those relationships may be held very privately, and can blindside the intended when actions are put into play.

So yes, there is a positive influence here with this style. This should be ONE of the leadership styles used, and for very specific times and situations.What are the trust levels in this type of leader’s organization, company, division, office?

Overall, if the leader leans heavily on this style it produces a ‘low’ trust environment. The leader doesn’t exhibit behaviour that demonstrates that they trust their people to take on key pieces.

Those that report to such a leader pick up on that low trust and their behaviours in turn are a reflection what such leadership brings on to others.

How do you think this type of style impacts those around this type of leader?

      • People will feel devalued.
      • People will be uninspired.
      • People may be exhausted by the style.
      • Peoples insecurities may arise.
      • Clearly they will be unhappy.
      • Growth and opportunity may well be minimal here, particularly because we likely have a leader who is unable to shift to a coach like style to create a learning environment for those that report to them. Opportunity for new positions could be possible though as there is likely a fair amount of churn, meaning people moving on.
      • It’s a matter of time before really talented people are looking for a change….either a redeploy within the company….or quite often they self – select out of the company.
      • People will feel like the leader is ”steam rolling” right over top of them.
      • Depending on what emotional patterns pull for an individual when stressed, we could well see people who are running emotionally from a place of anxiety, fear, anger, even sadness and shame or any combination thereof.
      • With this style seldom does the leader take the time for ”active listening’ with their people. By that I mean given them their ear and truly seeking to question and seek to understand the other person.
      • This style will likely not show up only for those in the reporting structure, it will show up with peer groups and leadership team members, although the behaviours may be modified. Most often in these types of relationships the Command and Control leader will be seen as ”the difficult to get along” with person in the room.

I have a question for you, if this is the style you tend to lean into the most – what do you need to do let go of to bring about a different and better way of leading? Should this style of leadership be prominent in your organization, what is the impact to the people…at all levels? People can work from a place of resistance under this type of leadership. If you have been listening to my other podcasts….you will be well aware…productivity, effectiveness and contribution will be eroding – impacting your business and impacting bottom line results.

What can you do to enhance your leadership?

      • Drive up self – awareness with regard to your leadership style, its important.
      • Enroll in a course that can support this.
      • Hire a professional to support you in this regard. There are a number of superb assessments that can help to uncover your styles. Please ensure that you use such with a qualified professional who can do an in depth debrief with you and help you develop a resulting action plan to move forward more effectively.
      • Find a trusted colleague to talk to, one who will absolutely be authentic with you and provide meaningful feedback about how you show up for others.
      • If you are a key leader in your company and you see this style with others around you – think to what leadership styles would be more appropriate to get the results that you need in this firm. Look for a professional who can help you introduce this type of change in the company.
      • If you work with an HR or OD dept. in your organization, seek their thoughts and guidance on how this could be supported for better results.

To Better Leadership Always…

Take care.

When Controlling Leaders Get in the Way

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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