Locus of Control in Management

  • Post category:Personal Growth
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Locus of Control in Management


In my career as an executive life coach, I come across many leaders and management executives, who struggle with taking charge of their own lives. While their circumstances might have differed, the thought behind helping them is virtually always the same and quite fundamental. 

As a coach, locus of control in management is useful to steer leaders and managers from considering themselves as being victims of life’s conditions to being drivers of those life events. 

As a facilitator, I help clients reach deep inside to the source of their inner strength and capability to take charge of their lives. 

There are two different locus of control: internal and external. Internal locus of control is the conviction that you are the “driver of the events that occur in your life”, while external locus of control is the thought that “external factors like fate, determine life events”.

Impact of locus of control psychology today on human performance

If you watch an interview of high performers or achievers and watch top athletes closely, you’ll observe something fascinating: they never speak about external circumstances.

There’s no “I missed that target or goal because my client was difficult or team member was a novice” or “I missed the medal because the ground was slippery or it was the cleaner’s mistake.”

Top performers in the corporate world, in sports or any other field of human endeavor, don’t blame external factors because no matter what profession they belong to, what sport they play, they all possess one thing in common: an internal locus of control.

The above sums up the importance of locus of control in management, sport, and leadership.

The Shift- a new beginning 

Many times, I often hear my clients describe their lives or work as getting out of control or they think they have very little or no control of their lives.

However, when things get better, I hear them say that they’ve started feeling more in control of their lives again.

As soon as the locus of control shifts from external to internal, people discover more energy, inspiration, and greater confidence to change. 

In business and leadership, the following advantages accrue to members having an internal locus of control across levels within an organization:

1.   Leadership 

A leader with an internal locus of control is likely to be preferred by team members. One reason is that such a person is perceived to have a better locus of control psychology and more powerful than an ‘external’ person because he or she takes responsibility for events. A leader with an internal locus of control would be self-empowered to change adverse conditions.

2.   Locus of control in management and business decision-making

There is evidence to demonstrate that internals is more competent to handle complex information and problem-solving and that they are more achievement-oriented than externals (locus of control). People with a high external locus of control usually prefer to have a controlled, directed work environment. They are competent to handle work that requires obedience and conformity, but they are found lacking in situations that require initiative, creativity, and independent action, important traits for a professional in management roles.


Possessing a locus of control that is internal, helps to differentiate between effective and ineffective leaders, managers, and employees. 

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