We have all probably read a great deal about not being a controlling leader…not to micromanage those for whom you are responsible. Most see being a controlling leader in a bad light–not a good thing to do/be. 

I suspect that there are two mistakes a leader can make. One is to try to control everything (and everybody) and the other mistake would be to move in the opposite direction and control nothing.

Another thing that most of us would generally agree on is that God is ultimately in control. He is sovereign over events and people. The favorite verse of Warren Myers, one of my early mentors, was I Timothy 6:15 which, in the Phillips translation says, “…God who is the blessed controller of all things, the king over all kings and the master of masters.” This verse was on Warren’s funeral announcement and was a cornerstone piece of his theology.

Loren Sanny, president of The Navigators for 30 years, used to say: “It was a wonderful day the day I resigned as master of the universe.” Oh yes, I would guess that everyone reading this would agree that it is not good to try and control what only the Lord has control of. Not only is He in control, but he is the “Blessed Controller.” I love to rest in that marvelous truth.

Having said that, what should a leader try to control (accept and assume responsibility for through the power of the Holy Spirit) and not delegate to others or blame others for?

Here Are Seven Things That Come To Mind. I Will Use He, But Mean Both He/She:

  1. He should control (accept responsibility for) his temper when things are not going as he wants or as planned. The most common emotion expressed by many leaders is anger. Personally, anger and impatience have caused me more problems than anything else.
  2. He should control (accept responsibility for) his attitude, keeping it positive as opposed to negative…be an optimistic visionary; a can do rather than a can’t do leader.
  3. He should control (accept responsibility for) his time and not fritter it away or use it carelessly. It is always better to invest, rather than spend, time.
  4. He should control (accept responsibility for) the vision/direction of the  organization as he hears from God. It is his role to be the communicator, the coach and the coordinator of the vision, making sure it is clear, consistent and contagious.
  5. He should control (accept responsibility for) the values and the culture of the organization. What he believes is important and foundational to its vision and purpose to be realized. The leader is the curator of the values and culture of the organization.
  6. He should control (accept responsibility for) a spirit of excellence that would honor Jesus.
  7. He should control (accept responsibility for) the speed and kinds of changes he propagates and advocates. All healthy things grow. Growing means changing… changing means fear and disagreement…and fear and disagreement means pushback.

As a leader you will get what you create and allow. You and I need to take control and accept responsibility for:

Our anger, our attitude, our time, the vision, the values, excellence and needed changes.

As we take control and accept responsibility, we need to operate  under the sovereign control of the Lord of the harvest and not try to do his job for him. We also need wisdom on what to let others take control of so as not to become micromanagers. It is a delicate dance!