Tuesday August 3rd, 2021

Control Is Good, Trust Is Better!

Sometimes we may think it’s different. Nevertheless, we humans ARE born to constantly optimize. Everything we do, we try to do with as little effort as possible. “Maximum efficiency!” is our deeply internalized motto. One promising strategy in this regard is to delegate tasks and responsibilities to others. But why is it that we often struggle to do just that?

Delegating is in fact the only way to get things done successfully, at least in most cases.

In everyday business, this is especially true. A satisfying overall result is EXCLUSIVELY possible by delegating tasks to specialists.

Mind you therefore: Allocation and delegation is GOOD. You have a lot less worries that way.

But is this really true?

Admittedly, we like to keep our efforts as low as possible, and we also like to feel good about ourselves when we succeed in doing so. Yet, in order to feel good all around, it’s important that we have a feeling of control over what we are responsible for.

That’s why our joy at the good feeling of having to do less ourselves is often clouded by the queasy sense of loss of control: Can we really trust that the task will be done in our best interest?

The Dilemma

To resolve this truly classic dilemma, it is helpful to consider the generally prevailing illusion of control.

The reality is: There is little over which we have any control such that it can actually be directly influenced by us alone. Even in matters involving ourselves, and which we clearly have (or should have) control over, we often find it pretty hard to do so

Anyone knows this who has ever made a resolution to start exercising regularly again or to lose a few pounds.

So if we already have such a hard time controlling ourselves, can we really expect to do so with others?

Trust as the basis of good results

Whether a delegated requirement (or even request) is fulfilled depends fundamentally on the ability (individual capabilities AND structural framework) and the willingness (individual motivation and intention) of those to whom the task is delegated.

On both you have no or almost no direct influence.

Yet if this is the case, it would be very foolish to completely abandon all patterns of assurance and monitoring.

But: To recognize that your own influence is generally limited takes pressure off you and can direct your focus to what you can really do yourself. That is, deciding what you’re both willing and able to get out of your hands. And HOW you do it.

The following may help you delegate well AND feel comfortable doing so:

  • Keep in mind your limited influence on the ACTUAL execution and outcome! Reduce your own pressure of expectations this way!
  • Check the general and individual conditions and motivations as accurately as possible, estimate them realistically! Be honest with yourself!
  • Consider the possibility of non-achievement and take failure into account. What are the possible consequences? Will your world collapse? What can you do to minimize risks?
  • Make the background of a task and its importance clear to yourself and others – address values!
  • Check the control effort you want to operate. Is it in proportion to the result?


FOREMOST OF ALL: Trust that your employees, colleagues, bosses and fellow will feel, think and act like yourself and that they very likely as good as always (!) will have the same goal. That is, to celebrate great successes as easily as possible, to prove themselves and show that they are a reliable persons..

Such an approach makes even double sense.

For not only is delegating with confidence THE chance for mental and emotional relief for yourself. It is also a great motivation for those to whom you delegate tasks and responsibilities.

The best foundation for relaxed, stable relationships. And optimal results.