The Circle of Influence and Control

Mar 30, 2020

The circle of concern, influence and control by Stephen Covey [1] is a resilience tool I often share with leaders when they need to work out what to do when the pressure is on.

I think it comes into its own at the moment.  Our concern circle has suddenly grown, and we need to be able to step back and work out the practical steps we can take.

Working through this tool is a remarkably simple but effective way of feeling more empowered and of planning actions for you and your team.

  1. The smallest circle is the “Circle of Control” –

What you can directly control?

  1. The next circle is the “Circle of Influence

Who and what can you influence effectively?

  1. The largest circle is the “Circle of Concern

What do you have no control or influence over?

It is fundamental to recognise which circle a given problem is in, otherwise you can waste huge amounts of energy or effort in worrying or trying to influence or impact things over which you have little control or influence.

I suggest getting a big bit of paper and drawing out a big circle. Then get some post it notes (or small bits of paper if your home doesn’t have these) and for put down everything about an issue that is a concern. Then drawing in the inner circles and working out and identifying what steps you can take to either influence or control any of these concerns.  It often helps talk this step through with someone else, or bounce ideas off them.

‘Influencing others is possible but controlling them is not. Focus on what you can control, which is your thoughts and influence those you can, let go of everything else as just a concern.’

Jacob M. Braude

There will be many things that are a concern but outside of your influence or control. For these we need to practice active acceptance. This is different to being happy about them or not caring about them. It’s a place of accepting and showing you care, whilst explicitly acknowledging that it’s not something you can do anything about.

Give it a go.

[1]Stephen Covey, Principle Centred Leadership,Rosetta Books2009

If you are interested in developing your leadership or creating more effective teams we would love to have a conversation.

< Back to Blog

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This