Planning, Startups, Stories


Tim Berry on business planning, starting and growing your business, and having a life in the meantime.

5 Questions About Power, Control, and Results 0

Decisions and Decision PointsHave you ever looked at the difference between power and control in leadership and management? Here’s what I’m guessing. Power and control are quite different and sometimes in conflict. The more control you have, the less power. Does that make sense? I’m just guessing here, not studying the literature.

The powerful leader creates and empowers powerful teams and lieutenants, inspires them with values, collaborates with them on goals, and then sets them loose to operate within general ranges and directions.

The controlling leader, in contrast, keeps teams and lieutenants on a tight leash. They check back constantly. They move much more slowly because they can’t make a significant decision without their leader.

The powerful leader sets goals and metrics. The controlling leader reviews to-do lists, tasks, and details.

Which brings me to some follow-on questions:

  1. Are you a leader? Do you set your teams loose or keep them under control?
  2. What happens when the would-be powerful leader fails to inspire and set goals and ranges and directions?
  3. What happens when the would-be powerful leader doesn’t have the right teams and lieutenants?
  4. How much of this power vs. control range is a matter of the leader either trusting the teams and lieutenants’ ability and judgment, or fearing their incompetence?
  5. Which style is more likely to get good results? Which is more likely to defend against bad results?

I’m just asking. I don’t know.