Letting Go of Control

Letting Go of Control

I like to control my workflow, my environment and my day.

However, for many people, it can be a challenge each day, week or month to sit down and consider what you need to do.  Rather than think about what tasks, projects and goals will you be undertaking in the upcoming period, what resources you need and then allocating realistic timeframes to complete them, it can be easy to simply go with the flow.  Then before you realise it, here comes performance review time and you haven’t met your business milestones!

It can be particularly challenging if you are relying on the input of others to contribute to completing a project.  A meeting or email to a colleague requesting information doesn’t guarantee action, but that doesn’t stop many people expecting their priorities to be met without considering that others might have priorities or conflicting items on their to do list. 

Often, when we rely on others to contribute, in the busyness of activity we can abdicate rather than delegate or collaborate. When we abdicate, we give away control to the other person in the hope they will know what we are expecting….they’re in your team right?  They should know???  But often they don’t.  Realistically, if they don’t know what your expectations are, then there is a pretty good chance they aren’t going to meet them.  This leaves both of you disappointed, frustrated and usually under more pressure to meet deadlines as a result.  Not a good feeling for anyone!

Giving up control to get someone to help or contribute to your task, project or goal doesn’t have to mean letting go.  When you provide people with expectation frameworks, the chance of things going wrong is reduced.  We still retain control, but are clear and more detailed in our expectations of others when we work together.

When everyone knows what the expectations are, we are all working in the same direction, but if we don’t, everyone ends up doing their own thing and the end result is often more work for the person who thought they had “delegated.”

Next time you need input or support from a colleague, don’t assume, or abdicate.  Make sure they are clear on your expectations and timelines and ask them to honestly meet them and to let you know straight up if they can’t. 

You might just find the whole process of delegating or collaborating much easier than you anticipated.

What’s your tip to get others to deliver on what you expect?

Donna Hanson is a productivity expert who specialises in helping organisations get off technology and back to the things that matter. Find out how Donna helps by visiting www.donnahanson.com.au or keep up to date with her productivity insights by following her on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or subscribing to her YouTube channel.

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