Financial Data
Updated 29 Feb 2020

Are you a control freak?

Why being a control freak is bad for business, and how to transition.

17 January 2013  Share  0 comments  Print

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It’s understandable that business owners can be possessive about their businesses: it’s their baby, they’ve nurtured an idea and are helping it grow, they’ve invested money and sweat, and chances are they’ve had to make some tough sacrifices to make it happen.

The truth is, being a control freak can actually be counter-productive to that development: you’ll find yourself unable to focus on important aspects of the business like strategising because you’re trying to control all aspects at once, your staff won’t appreciate being child-minded, and of course you’re human – there are limits to how much you can know about different business aspects.

So how do you stop being such a control freak?

The irony of the situation is that you can’t quit being a control freak by yourself because, fundamentally, rehabilitating yourself from control freak status means learning how to delegate to others.

Myth #1 –Only you can do it right. Wrong. If someone isn’t doing it right, is it because they haven’t been trained to do so?

Are you helping them learn the necessaries so they can do the job well or just jumping on them with criticism and doing it yourself? Pick the right people with the right experience and/or potential to run with certain duties.

Build them up with training and exercise some trust in their competencies. If they’re genuinely incompetent in the task you need to ask yourself why you hired them, why they were given the responsibilities, or how the situation can be remedied.

Remember, the more things you’re doing yourself or doubling back on to ‘fix’, the less time you have to plan and strategise business growth.

Myth #2 –You just don’t trust others. Wrong. Trust is something that’s built up over time. Start small by hiring an assistant, even if it’s part-time, to hand off the basics like filing, scheduling, and routine phonecalls.

As you learn to trust delegating you can then expand into other important tasks like accounting, managing and sales.

Here too, you’re not obligated to sign tenure. Work in a trial period so that you can assess whether the person is the right fit and you trust their abilities.

Myth #3 –If you let go, you lose control. Wrong. By delegating tasks to others you actually gain more control over the business. How?

You gain a very valuable resource – time. By having time available, once again, you get to focus on developing the business, make more sales, evaluate your finances and projections, and plan goals for the business and its employees.   

Myth #4– Only you know how to solve problems. Wrong. If you originally started the business solo, this may be a particular challenging myth to overcome.

Here’s the catch, you might know your business inside out, you may know your market and competition backwards, but there are times that you can’t see the woods because of all the trees.

If you let other people in and let them know about challenges or ideas, another brain can help you see things from a new perspective and spot things that you never even noticed before.

Your challenge: don’t shoot down other people’s ideas and opinions as “they don’t know what they’re talking about.” Ask them for their opinion and listen to it before you dismiss it. 

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