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Are you losing profits by trying to always be in control?

So, to help ease the fear of letting go, and thinking that to be in charge you also have to be in complete control of every task here’s a very important distinction I want to make. Many moons ago when I started delegating I made every mistake in the book and it took me a while to realize a key difference between being in control vs. being in charge.

Today I want to share this difference with you in the hopes it helps you overcome the fear of handing the reins over to others. Instead I want you to build a support team you can trust and helps you run your company so you can scale your business with ease.

I learned that being “in control” meant being responsible for running a project, a meeting, a workshop, doing the legwork, admin work, etc… Or when I sometimes had to brainstorm how a particular business could be expanded or refine an existing procedure or system already in place. Or having to step in to do a task because I simply didn’t trust the person I had hired.

Being “in charge” meant that’ll I guide, direct and/or engage my team about the projects bigger vision. It meant thinking, innovating, strategizing and making sure the project’s vision stayed relevant to the needs of the company I was consulting. It meant staying abreast and anticipating (via a crystal ball powered by Elven Magic that I keep under my desk) what I needed to do next to ensure I was meeting my client’s needs and goals.

So, how does this apply to you?

When you’re “in control” of your business, you’re being a micro-manager. You are in the day-to-day trenches. The weeds or tactics rather.

When you’re “in charge”, you’re being the leader. You’re providing direction. You are above the forest where you can see the best path forward.

Both of these roles are absolutely key for the success of your business, however, being and staying in the manager’s role (down in the brush) is not the most valuable use of your time.

Can you see the difference?

Almost all of us wear the manager’s hat when we start our businesses and I believe in the beginning its essential you wear this hat. It allows you to get very good at seeing how all the moving parts of your business fit together. How your company creates value, how the work gets done, how your clients need to be supported. Knowing all the processes that allow your business to run smoother is essential so you can confidently assess where things need to be streamlined and optimized.

However, once you begin hiring for example – a business manager or a project manager you need to let go of the manager’s hat and trust that you’ve built the proper foundation upon which you can build a profitable business.

And even if you don’t have all the pieces in place (frankly, who does?) you need to give ownership to the person you hire, trust them, so they can do their job, after all that is why you hired them. Your new role is then to guide and provide strategic direction. In this scenario the buck stops with you, you are still in charge, but not in control of the minutia.

Sure, for a while you might need to switch back-n-forth between the manager & leader hat, but, the more confidence and trust you gain in your team (and you can only achieve this by letting go), the more you can ease your grip and the less you’ll have to wear the manager’s hat.

Ultimately, the main goal is to focus on being in charge and hang up the manager’s hat for good. The best way I know you can begin transitioning into this role is by providing your team with crystal clear instructions of what you want them to do so you can get the results you want. By them knowing what’s going on they’ll be able to see how they can use their time, talents and resources (as well as you) to reach the end result.

This is the only way to position yourself to free up your time to provide guidance to your team and to create the kind of company you want. The end result will be you getting to enjoy the lifestyle you went into business to achieve in the first place.

Bottom line: You need to be willing to let go, hand the reins over to others, so that you have the time to think strategically and scale your business without driving yourself into the ground. You want to be in charge without having to be in control of everything that goes on in your business.

So, which hat have you been wearing the most lately– the manager’s beanie or the badass leader’s horned battle helmet?



  1. Whew, I needed that nugget of reinforcement today!



  2. I love the easy distinction between “in charge” and “in control”. That’s going to be easy for me to remember as I assess myself throughout the day. I can look at each task and see if it is something more appropriate to be “in charge” of rather than be “in control” of.

  3. I’m a mix right now but exploring all the ways to move more fully into the leadership role. Thanks for another way to look at this evolution of my biz.

  4. Thank you for the reminder. I am good at letting go in some areas in my life and not others. This is a work in progress for me, but as I am improving I do feel a lot better. This is a wonderful post.

  5. I love how you differentiate between being in control and in charge! I have found that micromanaging makes everyone involved miserable. It is hard to let go of the need to control ever little aspect and trust others when it comes to business. And while things won’t always be up to you expectations, you will be spending your time in a more valuable fashion and more equipped to deal with the issues as they come up, which isn’t near as often as they do in my head while I am trying to take control of EVERYTHING! Thank you!

  6. I’ve been wearing the control hat, however, I’m in the process of hiring my first employee. Thank you for this insightful post. I’ve been praying and meditating on the right team to support the vision for my company, and I’ve been creating structures so my team will feel supported and together, we will experience new levels of success and fulfillment.

  7. Very true distinction! I realized this very clearly last year, when I was doing an MBA. Up until then, I had always tended to wear the manager’s hat, always trying to be in control of everything. Somehow, during the MBA, my extra-curricular activities meant that I needed to delegate efficiently if I was to complete all the projects needed, plus enjoy my personal life.
    Bottom-line: I finally stepped into the leader’s shoes. And it feels so good!

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