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I like to be adventurous sometimes… and this is something that has come to mind and I’ve noticed in Global, Political and local context.  So I’d like to address it some, and briefly apply it to team building and entry-level leadership and manager roles.

Human people, as a mass, are control freaks.  We will always try to find blame for bad things on attributes which can be controlled, or that we at least perceive we can control.  It gives us peace of mind to think we can do something to prevent the recurrence of a mal-event.

It is much less likely for people in mass, to attribute mal-events to forces that are much more difficult to control, require a shift in thought in order to control, or are simply not controllable.  The only exceptions to this rule are those mal-events that are results of natural disasters.  Even then, there will be those that will try to rationalize that any negative effects of the natural disaster were preventable, or controllable, based on some aspect of human error.

We as people are horrible at differentiating what CAN be influenced, and what CANNOT be influenced.  I use the word “influence” intentionally.  No single thing can be controlled, but it can be influenced.  And often, people over-look the ability of influence.  The best influences are those that are never realized, yet effect the decisions and the results of events.

To this, I say – always seek out and diligently identify any contributing factors to an outcome, if you are looking to effect the outcome.  This works in micro and macro applications.  When managing a team and you notice a lack, or shift in performance or results, first identify all contributing factors (team members, member’s work environment, your implicit signals, members’ home environments, etc).  Then, analyze where you should focus your INFLUENCE (not “control”).

Well placed influence will always reap a higher return and more efficient results than emplacing “controls” or “exercising control”.  If you feel like you’ve lost “control” of your team – change your mindset.  Stop trying to control people and control the environment and start influencing people and harboring the environment.  The best part of influencing anyone or anything – effectively influencing forces you to listen, comprehend, and understand the subject of your intended influence.

How do you influence others?

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