Cling to Control; Choke Creativity

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“Control freak.” Perhaps we know someone who’s been called one. Perhaps we’ve been called one. If we are constantly stressed by tasks at work or thinking about errands at home, when do we rest? When do we allow those around us to rest? A policy of “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” doesn’t really advocate for a balanced, happy life, does it?

Organizations must learn how to release control or risk scaring talent away. Imagine if our supervisor is constantly looking over our shoulder, monitoring our every step. No one enjoys being under the heel of a micromanager—whether at work or at home.

Learning how to release control shows that we trust and respect others. It also allows us to rest our minds and perhaps inch our way closer towards a balanced life. Executive coach Janice Drescher observes that when we are controlling, we push people away. Drescher suggests that when we let go and allow others to help, the extension of trust strengthens our relationships. We start to relax, and those around us can similarly feel at ease.

But if we’re perpetually clinging to the need for control, we should pause and reflect on why. Why are we afraid to let go? Are we worried that others won’t do things the exact same way we would? If we engage in candid communication with those around us, we might arrive at more riveting outcomes than we ever imagined. Maybe there’s a brilliant idea or a novel approach we wouldn’t have considered on our own.

Marketing specialist Riccha Paul shares in this TED Talk how obsession with control ruins events in our lives, as it almost did with her wedding. Paul notes that when we remain glued to the yoke of control, we’re unable to react swiftly when plans get changed. To cling to control is to choke creativity.

Others may not do things the exact same way we do, but that does not mean that their way is the wrong way. There are myriad answers to a variety of situations.

Today, trust someone to help with a small task. If successful, why not release a few more tasks? Releasing control is about trusting the people around us, and trust is the most valuable currency in all of our relationships.

“Being a control freak makes us tense, stressed out, and unpleasant to be with.”
— Judith Orloff

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