Why Did You Do It THAT Way?

Weak leaders like to control their underlings.
Weak leaders like to control their underlings. (Flickr )

People want to be led. They do not wish to be controlled.

Effective leaders know the end result they have in mind. The vision of the leader is clearly articulated and the team knows what is expected of them.

The effective leader is focused on WHAT needs to be done.

A lower-level leader (as defined by Maxwell's five levels) has a less clear vision of the desired outcome but will focus on HOW his team is doing their work. Some will label this leader as a micromanager. Controlling managers may micromanage, but, in the mindset of the controller, the way workers work is more important than the results achieved. Micromanagers have hands in every pot but are usually very bottom line oriented.

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Controllers want to know the details ... of everything.

Correction will be focused toward "I would have done it this way, and it would be wise for you to do it this way next time."

This leader will want to know about every meeting and phone call. "Who were you talking to and why? I could have told you how to handle that. Next time come to me." But controlling leaders are too busy controlling to have time to meet and coach.

Controllers want final authority on every decision and will be very restrictive of information flow. Controllers believe information should leave their office on a need to know basis and "you don't need to know." Control of knowledge flow is power-building.

A controlling leader is also not a fan of training.

"If they need any training, I'll do it. We haven't needed training around here since the '90s when I got here." This leader's slip is showing.

Underneath the layers, a controlling leader is usually insecure about something or everything. He walks daily with his impostor complex. "I hope today is not the day people find out I don't have a clue."

The controlling leader is not led by the Holy Spirit.

The controller is led by fear. He walks in own strength and depends on no one. He will typically show no weaknesses or give any sign that things aren't going well. This leader won't allow a termite inspection.

Please don't confront a controlling leader about control issues. It won't go well for you. The control-focused leader will rarely be in position for self-diagnosis. They won't receive correction.

The best cure for a controlling leader is failure.

The controller can see and understand facts and will be very quick to understand failure. Failure will often send a controller to seek answers. This is the point at which work can be done.

In the meantime, pray that the controlling leader will seek God. We know that God will lead them to modify their style. God will show them His way of leadership.

Leaders who are led by the Holy Spirit have ears to hear. Trust the Holy Spirit to lead us to "What and How."


"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you" (John 14:26).

Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.

Leaders, Dr. Greene wants to help you understand the spiritual connection between relationships and productivity. Read his new blog, here.

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Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.

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