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Freedom and Responsibility without Control


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

In the war between management styles, freedom beats control. The more authority you want, the looser you hold the reins.

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Editorial Rating



  • Well Structured
  • Visionary


This book falls into the genre of business parables. Its optimistic theme is that freedom is a better management principle than control. Instead of relying on real-life examples, which might be hard to come by, the authors present a fictitious scenario in which wise older counselors impart the wisdom of freedom to young but amenable auditors. With freedom, workplace antagonisms and conflicts no longer fester. Employees cast aside their suspicions, differences, distrusts and other fruits of oppressive control, cooperating gladly and willingly in an atmosphere of near-utopian productivity. The real reward isn’t corporate Eden, but personal accountability, freely given by employees who innovate and work hard because they are trusted. trusts that you’ll know just how much freedom to apply before you create chaos instead of conscientiousness.


Accountability Requires Freedom

Accountability is so important to an organization that, without it, nothing else can work properly. The key to helping people become accountable is replacing corporate dictatorship with leadership. Control is the antithesis of freedom - and without freedom there can be no real accountability.

Controlling managers have many problems with their workers. Perhaps the worst is that people are afraid to tell them the truth. Unless managers relax the reins, let go of the controls and allow workers the freedom to pursue their tasks, they can’t fulfill their own missions. Their managerial lives will be frustrating and unproductive.

Of course, it takes courage to give people freedom. It is hard. However, the alternative is harder. In a controlling, authoritarian culture, people are afraid to speak plainly and afraid to do what makes sense - they fear doing anything that the manager has not directly told them to do. The fact is, the more a manager attempts to control people, the less responsibility people will take, and the less responsibility they take, the less productive they will be.

The characteristics of a control culture (...

About the Authors

Rob Lebow is chairman of the Lebow Company and co-chairman of Tomorrow’s Workplace, Inc., where corporate trainer Randy Spitzer is executive vice president. Lebow is an international speaker and the author of A Journey into the Heroic Environment.

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