7 Reactions to Controlling Leadership

Recently I was speaking with someone about their experience with a controlling leader. My friend said, “He’s just one of those humor him and move on kind of guys.” I thought to myself, “What a sad commentary to be said about one’s leadership!”

It reminds me of a similar experience I had with a controlling leader…

You see, I once had an idea…

It was a dream…a big vision…

I knew it would require risk, extra energies, and the assistance of others, but I was confident this was something worth pursuing…

I even felt it was a call of God for my life…

I was a volunteer for the organization, not an employee, but I had been given a certain amount responsibility and authority…

The only problem…

The leader of the organization was a controlling leader…

That fact alone changed the way I approached (or didn’t approach) the opportunity…

Many controlling leaders receive that kind of attention…

I’ve noticed from my own experience and watching others, that there are certain ways we tend to respond to controlling leaders…

Here are 7 examples:

  • Ignoring them instead of confronting…
  • Asking forgiveness instead of permission…
  • Keeping our best ideas until we are certain they’ll work…
  • Being afraid to share new ideas because we know they’ll be shot down…
  • Feeling the need to build a coalition of support before approaching…
  • Hiding our true thoughts and opinions rather than sharing them…
  • Keeping our relationship to “strictly professional”…

Leaders, do any of those describe how people respond to your leadership?

Don’t be that guy!

In my specific situation described above, the result was one of the 3 ways listed HERE in a previous post. Which do you think was the result?

What would you add to my list of reactions to controlling leadership?

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18 thoughts on “7 Reactions to Controlling Leadership

  1. Influence soon becomes one directional; only to the team members below. And like you mentioned previous, that can lead to friendship with all and leadership to none.

  2. Thanks,your exquisite examination of the dimensions of leadership brought me to the mouth of the cave [psychic prison] and enabled me to more fully comprehend the shadows on the wall [organizations].

    • I think it happens many times…to the detriment of the organization of the controlling leader.
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

  3. Indeed. A good check list but not a happy one. I think to top this off, we have controlling structures or cultures of leadership where everyone is infected to some degree with this. And, I would add this one: feel confusion over spiritualization of issues meant to motivate by guilt.

  4. Great post, Ron! Leadership is influence. If you're a controlling leader, you've got power but not influence. Power is temporary and easily lost with time. Influence is fragile, yet indefinite when cared for properly. Power forces someone to do a task. Influence empowers and inspires them to do it.

    Which would you think would produce better results?

    • Thanks Kenny. Hope you are well. That's a great line…"you've got power, but not influence". I'll take influence over power any day!
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

  5. Ron, as you mentioned previously, the ultimate result is a departure of good talent. Those positions are generally filled by Yes men and sycophants – gatekeepers just happy to be a figure-head.

    The other response is bitterness bringing about a Jeroboam/Rehoboam scenario ending in mutiny.

  6. Ron this is a great post with some awesome insight. I think back and realize I have done some of these things. To be honest one of the reactions I had in a controling scenero was to do what I was asked and nothing more. Once you get turned down or denied too many times you stop carring about the orginization because there isn't a piece of you represented in it other than your labor. Not say this is the right mentality but it is reality.