When Leaders Suffocate Their Staff

It always surprises me to see managers who suffocate their staff. By suffocating their staff, I’m referring to leaders who are unwilling to let their employees out of their grips for fear of losing the employee or losing control. These types of leaders are actually doing the exact opposite of what they are intending to do. This tight grip and suffocating behavior will reduce performance, squash creativity and inevitably cause employees to leave.

When I was a young Warden, my mentor and boss would frequently tell me this regarding my staff members. “Scott, hold onto your team loosely, because ultimately they are not yours to hold onto.” That statement has always stuck with me!

If we hold onto our employees loosely, they feel the freedom of the open hands which ultimately increases productivity and develops more leaders. This philosophy of encouraging your employees to “grow and go” will result in you losing some great ones from time to time. The great thing about leading with the open-handed mentality, is the fact that those you loose will always be quickly replenished.

On the other hand, the employer who plants a suffocating scarcity seed, won’t reap a scarce harvest. I have led several teams in which we lost key players to some higher impact roles; however every time they were replenished with some equally amazing team members without the team missing a beat.

Scarcity Mentality – Not enough good to go around vs. Abundance Mentality – There is more than enough great to go around.

If you are in an suffocating staff situation, encourage the leader to open their hands. If that doesn’t work, it may be time “to go and grow.”

Let Go! dream BIG. think BIGGER.

Share your thoughts and experiences with the suffocating approach.

  • Dwann Holmes Rollinson

    Great advice!

  • Faye Bryant

    I’ve worked for an employer who TOLD me all the time how good my work was, how creative I was, how they couldn’t do without me. Then proceeded to tell me exactly what to do and basically how to do it. The hands-off idea there was that I was supposed to find out things to share by being in a meeting where it was mentioned, even though it wasn’t “my” meeting to be in!

Designed by EightDay Studio. Powered by the Standard Theme. Developed by Milk Engine.