Leadership · 28 November 2023

Out Of My Control - infographic

Focusing on the Controllable in a Sea of Unpredictability


In the complex landscape of leadership development, the dichotomy between what one can control and what remains beyond their influence is a perennial consideration. Drawing inspiration from the insightful infographic designed by Grassoblog (Antonio Grasso) #mindfulenough, this article explores the nuanced interplay between controllable and uncontrollable factors in leadership. Grounded in academic principles, the discussion encompasses the past, present, and future, exploring the intricacies of personal agency in shaping one’s leadership journey.

The Past: A Canvas of Lessons

Leaders often grapple with the retrospective aspects of their professional trajectory. The past, with its triumphs and tribulations, falls within the realm of what can be controlled. Academic literature emphasises the importance of learning from historical experiences, allowing leaders to adapt strategies and refine decision-making processes. Contemplating the past, therefore, becomes a strategic tool for effective leadership.

What I Can Control: My Thoughts, Goals, Boundaries, and Actions

Central to effective leadership is the conscious management of one’s thoughts, goals, boundaries, and actions. The ability to set and pursue goals, establish boundaries, and take intentional actions contributes significantly to a leader’s success. Academic discourse underscores the importance of self-regulation and goal-setting in achieving optimal leadership outcomes. By focusing on internal factors, leaders can harness their full potential to steer both personal and organisational growth.

Out of My Control: What Happens Around Me, Others’ Thoughts, Actions, and Opinions

Conversely, leaders must grapple with the elements beyond their control, such as external circumstances, the actions and opinions of others, and the unpredictable nature of the environment. Resilience and adaptability emerge as critical competencies, enabling leaders to navigate unforeseen challenges and remain steadfast in their commitment to organisational objectives.

The Future: A Landscape of Uncertainty

As leaders cast their gaze towards the future, the unpredictable nature of what lies ahead becomes evident. While leaders can influence the future through strategic planning and decision-making, uncontrollable variables inevitably come into play. Academic literature suggests that embracing uncertainty and cultivating a proactive mindset are essential components of effective leadership in dynamic environments.

What I Can Control: How I Speak, What I Give My Energy To, and How I Handle Challenges

In anticipation of the future, leaders retain agency over their communication style, energy allocation, and approach to challenges. Effective communication fosters collaboration and aligns teams towards common goals. Strategic energy management ensures leaders invest time and resources judiciously. Additionally, a proactive approach to challenges, grounded in problem-solving skills, empowers leaders to navigate uncertainties with resilience and agility.

Out of My Control: The Outcome of My Efforts and Others’ Self-Care

While leaders can exert influence on their efforts, the outcome remains uncertain and subject to various external factors. Simultaneously, leaders must recognise the autonomy of others in managing their well-being. This highlights the importance of fostering a supportive work culture that encourages self-care and personal development among team members.


In leadership development, the juxtaposition of what is controllable and what remains beyond one’s influence is a perpetual theme. This academic exploration underscores the significance of self-awareness, adaptability, and strategic decision-making in navigating the intricacies of leadership. By understanding the nuanced dynamics of control, leaders can cultivate resilience, inspire teams, and chart a course towards sustained success in the ever-evolving landscape of professional leadership.

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The infographic was designed by Grassoblog (Antonio Grasso) #mindfulenough.