How to keep your business running smoothly

Office stress on the phone

Do you ever have that worrisome feeling that things are spinning out of control—your business in particular? Everyone gets the feeling of being completely overwhelmed from time to time. There are too many variables and decisions, and not enough information or time to address every detail at all times.

Although this happens to everyone, it is even more common among small business owners. Even though you may feel you have lost control, your response to this feeling can greatly impact you and those around you.

Unfortunately, a typical response when we feel we are losing control is to try to gain a higher level of control of more things. By extending the breadth and depth of our direct management, we hope to regain command of the key areas that are causing our concern. In the process, we may even attempt to exert control over other people as well.

Of course, this puts us in a position of having to manage even more variables, which usually just makes us feel more overwhelmed. And as we try to exert more control over family, friends and colleagues, they will almost certainly respond negatively. Ironically, the more we try to control, the less control we have.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but when you feel overwhelmed, the secret to gaining control is to give some of it up. Resist the urge to get deeper into the details. Take a look at the bigger picture. Focus more on managing results and less on controlling processes. Concentrate more on leadership and less on making every decision.  

When you step back and delegate responsibility to others, they will be working with you, rather than for you—or worse, resisting you. Just make sure they understand the ultimate goal. Focus more on ‘the what’ and less on ‘the how’. Give them some freedom to take their own path to your goal. Provide guidance, but don’t direct them. By doing so, they feel empowered and motivated, while you maintain better control over the most important aspect—the outcome.

Control is a funny thing, because most times it turns out that less is actually more. The next time you feel things may be getting out of your control, look for areas where you can let some of it go. When you do, you just might find that you start gaining more control in the process.

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