How to Help Those Who Feel Burned by a Controlling Leader

Controlling to one is liberating to another.

All leaders disappoint. Some are too controlling. Others are too hands-off. Your response to disappointing leadership impacts the trajectory of your career.

Controlling leaders:

  1. Disrespect and devalue talent. Successful leaders hire talented people, set high expectations, and get out of the way. One of my friends told me that his job is to remove obstacles. Controlling leaders ARE obstacles to talented team members.
  2. Demotivate teams. Why work hard when you’re treated like a puppet?
  3. Create stress for themselves.

How to help people who feel burned by controlling leaders:

#1. Help people shift from external to internal focus.

It’s self-affirming and safe to focus on the faults of others. Help people move from thinking about others to thinking about themselves.

All the great battles are within.

The real battle – when you feel mistreated – is about you and your response.

Will you press forward for the advantage or yourself and your team? Or will you squander your talent by pulling back and playing it safe?

The great battles are with fear, bitterness, revenge, and powerlessness, when you feel mistreated.

Think more about wise response than offense taken.

The internal battle of ‘letting go’ when you feel wronged sets trajectory.

Looking inward requires:

  1. Courage.
  2. Humility.
  3. Honesty.
  4. Time.
  5. Self-compassion.

#2. Express empathy and help people work on themselves.

Listen to complaints and frustrations. Agree that it’s frustrating and discouraging to feel disrespected by a controlling leader. After listening, turn the conversation.

  1. How might you be a better leader as a result of working for a controlling leader?
  2. How might you bring your best self to work even though your leader is disappointing?

How might you help people who feel burned by a controlling leader?

*This is part two of a response to an email I received. Read the email and part one: DEAR DAN: HELP PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR A CONTROL FREAK