There was a philosophical discussion on AIFW yesterday. The discussion was about splurging by dependent. A father earns hard to put money into Sukanya Samriddhi Account, and daughter splurges that corpus (when she becomes eligible for withdrawal. i.e. at age of 18.). This ‘what if’ bugs everyone. The same feeling goes to companies we invest in, to govt. as we are the taxpayer, to Fund Managers as we invest in that fund, to our children as they are born because of us. As the saying goes “path to hell is paved with good intentions”, its true in this case too. but the hell created by the delusion of control is moreĀ of a psychological one, and not like the actual one.

Humans hate being controlled.

SOme great guy

If you read the resignation letter I wrote, the primordial human reactions to control becomes apparent. Humans hate being controlled. But the urge to control doesn’t go away. The urge to control is, in fact, a biological flaw of the brain. The delusion of control is one of the cognitive biases.

Delusion of Control

In the above-mentioned discussion, the delusion of control was calling shots. The fear of losing control over hard-earned corpus was playing the role. This fear also manifested in the civilizational construct called ‘rights’ being used to assert authority. Rage is also common when the situation goes out of control, for these folks. But leaders didn’t this behavior at all.

I came to know about the delusion of control from Kung Fu Panda. Having worked with lots of different types of managers and leaders, the bias is seen only in a particular set of people. Therefore, I have come to view the delusion of control as the hallmark of managerial incompetence. In simple words, control is exerted by those who lack leadership skills. Leaders always influence, never control.

Influence, not control

Being around a lot of powerful people, this thing sticks a lot. Every leader I have met, have tried to influence me with relevant suggestions than control me. Even private observation of them also displays influencing nature rather than controlling one. It’s more of ‘can you do it?’ rather than ‘do it’. In the above discussion, the fear of losing control was large.

The standard behavioral response to the loss of control is the rage. The fear in Anakin Skywalker turned him into Evil Sith. Sith Lord turned him by channeling that fear into rage. When the urge to control is totally absent, it results in the proper utilization of brain power. This also helps immensely in leader giving relevant suggestions. With rage, the first thing to malfunction will be our thinking power. The ensuing insubordination from other humans also results in fuelling of more rage. Influencing, on the other hand, is fuelled by our imagination.

It’s for this reason, leaders also appear to be intelligent. The fear fuels need to control, whereas imagination fuels the need to influence. We see the world over leaderships achieves a lot more than controlled execution. So, the solution to the above problem-

influence views of the child about the productive and nonproductive expense, don’t try to control the expense itself.