Values-Based Leadership: Assessing Your Command and Control Temperament
The command and control mindset has existed in leadership for decades. Businesses ran with a command and control form of leadership, which meant that whatever the top dog(s) said, went. There was little or no discussion. To put it simply, you just did what you were told and didn’t make waves.
The entry of GenXers and Millennials into the workplace caused a major disruption to this methodology. Doing what they’re told is usually not part of these demographics’ makeup. They’re free-thinkers and creatives and want to take responsibility for what they’re doing. A misconception is that they will blame others or deflect responsibility, but this is untrue. The drive to take responsibility is just one piece that helped propel values-based leadership into play. They seek meaning and impact in their work.
Part of the challenges with many command and control forms of leadership is that they’re based on egotistical practices. The leaders are the end-all, be-all experts on every subject. Everyone looks to them to get everyone marching in one direction, without questioning anything or allowing contribution to the process. Failure is not an option, ever. Results are the only objective, and usually leadership is built on individuals who would exercise policies and implement plans. Command and control is very limiting to the growth of business. As we continue to ride through the age of technology and information, it’s nearly impossible to stay so cloistered yet be competitive in the market.
Command and control absolutely has an important leadership role within society. Our military and law enforcement are based on a command and control model. You certainly don’t want military personnel coloring outside the lines of literal life-and-death commands. It is control of something extremely dangerous. Rightfully, command and control leadership in these cases ensures safety and order.
But in business there needs to be a careful balance within the leadership of enforcing policy but allowing for creativity and following compliance requirements that keep stakeholders safe without reducing them to mindless robots moving on conveyor belts from task to task.
Everyone possesses some level of desire for control — one needs to when leading a group of people anywhere. Control enthusiasts may take things a bit too far, though. Too much of a good thing can turn bad, fast. Do you lean toward command and control? Find out with these questions:
- Do you need to be the center of attention in your organization at all times?
- Would you prefer people to simply say yes rather than challenge you?
- Do you consciously or unconsciously shut people down when they disagree?
- Would you prefer to make all the decisions yourself?
- Do you find yourself wondering why you have to include anyone at all in decisions?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, then yes, you’re a command and control leader. If you answered yes to two or three, you’re at risk of being a command and control leader. If you’ve answered yes to one or two, it’s time to consider whether you may be limiting the expansion of your organization.