In No1 we looked at Awareness but in reality the concepts of awareness and control are inseparable. They are the two key determinants of mind fitness and underpin any success you will have in creating healthy individuals, a dynamic team and organizations.
What’s the basic idea about control?
Let’s look at a familiar example – central heating is a common and helpful piece of household technology. The ideal central heating system maintains the most comfortable temperature, adapting smoothly and appropriately to environmental changes. Your central heating system needs to be aware of the room temperature in order to function properly. That’s the job of the thermostat.
But awareness is not enough. There must be an element of external control in order to maximise the effect. Before the system can provide the best possible service, it must be told by you exactly what is required – using the knob on the thermostat you set the temperature you want, and the central heating responds efficiently.
How do we achieve control?
The word ‘control’ appears in many management books on subjects as diverse as personal empowerment, team-leadership and group dynamics. The exercise of control is widely considered a vital ingredient in the good health of any organization. But how does it relate to mind fitness?
An initial element of control was necessary to make the central heating work properly. However, you wouldn’t want to go back every five minutes and readjust the thermostat – it would be inconvenient, inefficient and confuse the whole system. So it is with management. If you have a mind fit team, all operating with good levels of awareness, your control of the team will be infrequent yet highly effective. In actual fact, good leadership can involve a lack of control, by giving control to the team members closest to the issues. Anyone who has had an engaging and inspiring leader will know how empowering this feels.
Unfortunately, many leaders retain an excessive amount of control through the over-use of positional power, using an authoritarian, domineering style of communication. In extreme cases this can even tip into bullying in the workplace. This is usually the result of a combination of factors, including pressure from higher up in the organization, insecurity and lack of awareness on the part of the leaders, and a general distrust of the workforce. The effects on the mind fitness of their people can be disastrous.
Controlling the controllable
If controlling other people is fraught with difficulties and dangers, what can you control? The answer is simple – yourself. And that is what mind fitness is all about. With self-awareness comes the possibility of self-control.
With awareness, you have the opportunity to make decisions about what you want to stop doing, and what you want to do more of. Your current level of mind fitness is simply a set of habits, and you do not have to be a slave to them. You can take control rather than giving or taking control from others.
Now here’s a Hot tip
Most people say one of the most important factors in a happy work life is being thanked and feeling acknowledged. It only takes a moment to thank a member of your team, or to say ‘well done’, but it makes a world of difference. People feel more in control when they are thanked, rather than feeling like just another unacknowledged cog in the machine.
The next Mind Fit Global Strength – No3 Focus