Leadership Skills Exercise: How Controlling Are You?

Leadership Skills Exercise: How Controlling Are You?


Some leaders seem to be too controlling. They want to exert their power and position on others to get them do what they want. On the other hand, some leaders seem to understand others and are much friendlier and open to new ideas. They seem to be much more logical and are viewed much more positively than those who are too controlling.

Research shows that those who are too controlling of others and their environment are usually insecure. Their insecurity is expressed by forcing others to comply and they see this as the only way to bring balance to their world.

This exercise helps delegates to become more aware of this concept and learn how to ask questions from themselves on how they treat others.


Evaluate your performance based on what others, especially your team members and colleagues, think of you.

What You Need

  • A copy of “Control Evaluation Form” provided below for each delegate.


  • Distribute the “Control Evaluation Form” to all delegates.
  • Ask delegates to go through the form. First they need to identify a number of people who are their followers. Ask them to write their names in the list.
  • Next, delegates must record the view of each person they have named about their own performance. This encourages them to think from the other person’s point of view and see how controlling they might be towards others.
  • Allocate 10 minutes for this exercise.
  • Bring back all and follow with a discussion.


Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes

Activity: 10 minutes

Group Feedback: 10 minutes


Do you think some of your followers would score you as a controlling person? What does this suggest? What could you do about it? Do you think many of your followers would classify you as a controlling leader? Do you think they like to have a controlling leader? What can you do to create a friendlier atmosphere?


To take this to the next step, you can prepare similar forms and give them to the team members of your delegates and ask them to score their leader on how controlling they are. You can then compare these results with those obtained from the leader. Any large differences must be analysed further to see what they really suggest. For example, your followers may score you negatively while you might score yourself positively. The difference suggests that you might be doing something that you should not but you might not be aware of it. Becoming aware of this trait is the first step in moving towards a less controlling and more open leadership style.



Control Evaluation Form



How much do you think you like to control people in different situations? Place an X in the appropriate level.



Little Need to Control





Strong Need to Control





1. Write the name of your followers or team members on the left.

2. For each person ask yourself how they would score you on how controlling you are.



Name of Your Team Member


Little Need to Control





Strong Need to Control



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