Control Freak – 5 Things to Turn Your Desire For Control Into Influence

Yesterday, I wrote about the idea of surrendering control and testing your motives.  I received some great feedback!  I love feedback.  I love engaging. For those of you that have, thank you!  The main question was, “Aren’t there some things you should control?”  That answer is yes!

Differentiating Control

I wanted to point out yesterday that we should question the motives behind our control.  Healthy control is that with a concern for a greater good for all involved or control based on a foundational truth (i.e. Controlling your diet, controlling your finances)  However,  most people seek to control things out of a selfish motives or a lack of faith.  Or, they seek to control things simply to gain their greatest benefit.  The thought is, “If I can just make everything conform to the mold that best suits me.”  (Dr. Evil laugh!!)  If I can get them to _________, it will just be so much easier.  Whether it is your children or your spouse or your friends or your co-workers, you’ve got plenty of words to fill in that blank, don’t you?   Seek your motives.

How to Gain Control

We try to control because we seek influence.  Influence comes when you stop seeking control.  The greatest control you can have is that of influence.  Our pastor says, “Lead with authority while your kids are young so you can lead with influence when they are old.”  The thought is, there has to be some level of control with a 3-year-old because it teaches them and that is our responsibility, to teach them.  That is why control and boundaries are VERY important.  Those areas of control stem out of a foundational truth and the good of all involved, as noted above.  What about adult relationships? What about managers to their employees?  So then, how do we gain influence?  In my opinion, this has to do with how you live.  Here are  a few things to consider :

1. Deep Beliefs – This is the foundational truths above.  For me, this is my faith in God.  Everything I do, I try to filter through the truths that I receive from scripture.  Whether you want to call it morals or whatever, a deep belief in something good, something beneficial has to be the baseline.

2. Confidence – When you believe deeply in something good, when you have a foundational truth, it creates a confidence in you as you act.  People see this confidence and are drawn to it.  It is FAR from being conceited or arrogant.  It is more of a centeredness.

3. Selflessness – If you seek influence for your own benefit, you will fail.  The confidence above doesn’t work unless you are serving.  People, children, co-workers – they have to know that you are concerned about them.  Be others centered in your approach.  Rather than seek to control, meet people where they are and lead them.

4. Consistency – Your actions must be consistent with your beliefs.  This is one of the biggest fails, inconsistent action.  You can’t tell your kids not to yell and then scream all the time!  If you want to influence, your actions must be consistent with your words.  If you want production out of your team, you have to show that you are willing to produce, stay late, help.

5. Gratitude – I’ve talked about gratitude a lot.  It is a foundation to live by.  How do you respond when things go wrong?  Are you grateful when you learn from failure?  Does your heart bleed joy?  It is hard for an angry, unhappy, bitter person to influence anyone.  In fact, they only will when there is some positional or conditional authority.  A light will always shine in the darkness. Be a light.

How can you turn your desire for control into a desire for influence?


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2 Responses to Control Freak – 5 Things to Turn Your Desire For Control Into Influence

  1. Marie Bryant September 17, 2013 at 9:33 am #


    You are a man of much insight. I love everything you write. You inspire me and give me lots of food for thought.

    I hope you and Chad are great friends because I think he is much like you. He just doesn’t express it publicly.

    You would be a person I would pick for my best friend, mostly because you don’t have a negative bone in your body and I can tell you are a loving, forgiving man.

    If you lead others to be optimistic, confident, selfless, consistent, grateful and have a strong belief, then you have done the world a great service. Keep up the good work.

    I will continue following you (and watching your little guys grow up). They have a terrific role model!


    • Matt Ham September 17, 2013 at 9:43 am #

      Those are some of the most kind words anyone has shared with me. I greatly appreciate your encouragement. I hope I’m a good friend and a great father! I don’t have it all figured out and just keep learning as I walk! Thank you for reading AND sharing!