The Need for Control

Need for Control
The Need for Control

I’ve always hated control freaks.  I’ve known and worked with quite a few.  Maybe because of my experiences with them, I’ve always tried to resist the need for control.

But as a consulting project manager, it helps to be both a control freak and an order freak.  I consider myself more of an order freak than a control freak, but they tend to go hand-in-hand.

Any consultant, especially a project manager, is accountable to the client and has to know what’s going on.  So it’s important to be organized.  If there are 15 open, high-priority issues for a project, you want to have an organized way of tracking the issues and knowing their status, in case you’re approached by the client who wants an update.

The need for control

When other people on your team are responsible for resolving all or part of those issues or are just working on project tasks, the need to know the status causes a PM to go into control freak mode.  Her biggest fear is “what if the client asks me the status and I don’t know where it stands?”

The way I’ve gotten around that is to save reporting the status to the client for the weekly status meeting.  I generally meet with team members in a daily 15-minute stand-up meeting where asking for issue or task status is fair game.  The day before the weekly status meeting, I may even ask for more detail on that information outside of the daily stand-up.

Staying in the loop

That keeps me in the loop on a daily and weekly basis.  If the client asks for an update on a non-status meeting day, I feel it’s acceptable to give them less detail than I planned for the weekly status meeting.

See my related post: Unnecessary Anxiety

Albert Einstein was famous for saying “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.”  I’d paraphrase that to say “Inflict as much control on your team as necessary, but no more.”

If you would like to learn more about working in consulting, get Lew’s book Consulting 101: 101 Tips for Success in Consulting at Amazon.com

As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms.  I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts and discussion. 

Related Posts
The 2 Biggest Management Challenges
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of sitting on both sides of the management desk.  I’ve managed a lot of people and in the process, mismanaged some of them.  ...
READ MORE
Letting Knowledge Walk out the Door…Willingly
It’s good to have a subject matter expert on your team.  A good SME is a resource that virtually every other member of your team can rely on for valuable ...
READ MORE
Management Flexibility: That’s Not How I’d Do It
There is an age-old debate about how the toilet paper should roll for most efficient dispensing.  One school of thought says the paper should roll up from the bottom while ...
READ MORE
What I’ve Learned From Leadership Analysis
My kids sometimes come home from school frustrated by someone who didn’t treat them well or maybe just acted like a selfish jerk. I’ve tried to teach them that people ...
READ MORE
Bossing Around: The Next Best Thing to Leadership
Over the years, I’ve worked under many management styles. I’ve reported to managers that were so command and control that I questioned every decision I made, wondering if I was ...
READ MORE
Playgrounds, Checklists and Making Things Idiot Proof
An article in the New York Times from July of 2011 entitled "Can a Playground Be Too Safe?" discusses the trend over the past few decades of making playgrounds safer.  By ...
READ MORE
Do You Manage Your Team Like a Bowling or Baseball Team?
If you ask any manager, he or she would most likely tell you they manage a team.  Some will go as far as to tell you that they’re not a ...
READ MORE
The Bad Decisions We Encourage
It starts at an early age.  Teachers and parents tell us that to be successful and smart we have to get good grades.  Their intentions are good.  They assume that ...
READ MORE
Motivation: Positive and Negative Incentives
When I was in high school, I had a fantastic U.S. History teacher.  He had us subscribe to Time Magazine and we were required to read an editorial from the ...
READ MORE
On Being Bold: Step on the Gas
A few years ago, I purchased a classic car – a 1975 Oldsmobile Delta 88 convertible.  It’s been a fun car to drive around town on nice summer days.  It’s ...
READ MORE
The 2 Biggest Management Challenges
Letting Knowledge Walk out the Door…Willingly
Management Flexibility: That’s Not How I’d Do It
What I’ve Learned From Leadership Analysis
Bossing Around: The Next Best Thing to Leadership
Playgrounds, Checklists and Making Things Idiot Proof
Do You Manage Your Team Like a Bowling
The Bad Decisions We Encourage
Motivation: Positive and Negative Incentives
On Being Bold: Step on the Gas