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Embracing Control

The Keystone of Effective Leadership

Photo of a telescope-  controlling your outlook as a leader- photo credit to Patrick Perkins.

In our journey of personal and professional growth, the concept of control emerges as a critical factor, guiding us through the complex landscape of modern leadership. Control, a central theme in my Series 2 of High-Performance Coaching, is about steering the course of our lives and the people we lead with intention and purpose. Why is control so critical in leadership? Not just for ourselves but also for those we lead.  

One of the key drivers at the heart of effective leadership is the capacity to navigate uncertainty, make decisions with confidence, and inspire resilience in the face of challenges. Do you know someone like this? For me, this was my dad. He always seemed to have everything under control—and that was enough to make me feel safe. It was also how I learned to lead my life, with confidence, certainty, and grit. I see few leaders today who can project stability, foster trust, and drive forward with clarity of vision.

Reflecting on several of my coaching discussions, many of my clients have shared their experiences with control, both its presence and absence, in their leadership journeys. This transparency got me thinking that the essence of leadership is not found when things are going great but in the ability to control our response to tough situations. This insight is a reminder that control, when harnessed correctly, is a source of empowerment, not just for the leader but for their team as well.

Why, then, is control so vital for a leader? It’s because leadership, in its purest form, is about influence. It’s about guiding others toward a shared vision, navigating the complexities of human dynamics, and achieving goals beyond individual capabilities. Leaders who master the art of control understand that it’s not just about exerting authority but about orchestrating a symphony of efforts, ideas, and talents toward a harmonious outcome.

The journey toward mastering control as a leader encourages you to examine several key areas of influence. How does the concept of control manifest in your leadership style? Which aspects of your team, organization, or mission do you feel you have a firm grip on, and where does control seem to elude you? These reflections are crucial in identifying the gaps between where you are and where you aspire to be as a leader.

One of the tools I use is the ‘Things Worth Controlling’ framework in this reflective process, emphasizing the importance of controlling your outlook, character, and the quest for new experiences (always seeking fulfillment!). For leaders, controlling your outlook means maintaining a focus on the positive potential of the future, even in the face of adversity. Controlling your character involves embodying the values and ethics you wish to see in your organization, and serving as a living example of integrity and resilience.

The exploration of control is not just a power exercise but a practical guide for true leaders seeking to build on their impact and effectiveness. I watched my dad manage so many different groups as a leader, he was a Navy drill sergeant, an avionics trainer, a lead engineer on several Ops projects, a men’s bible study leader, and a partner to my mom. He didn’t always get it right, but he kept learning and growing through all his different roles. And he was my favorite leader.

Control, when understood and applied well, empowers leaders to navigate the complexities of their roles with grace and confidence. As we move through this week, let the concept of control inspire you to take charge of your leadership journey, shaping it with purpose, vision, and your own commitment to growth.

Marilyn Dollar- Woman sitting at desk
Marilyn Dollar - The Woman's Coach

They call me the C-Suite Whisperer.

High-Performance Coach For Leaders and CEO’s. It’s time to embrace your true identity and grow into your next achievement!

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