How to Control Your Control Freak
Control freaks are bullies even when they smile. Anything less than compliance offends them.
You’re a control freak if you:
- Believe perfectionism is the same as excellence.
- Get irritated when people don’t adapt to you.
- Possess irritating tenacity.
- Know better and can do better than others.
- Nitpick and intervene.
- Monopolize conversations and interrupt.
- Get in other people’s business.
Bonus: Control freaks panic when they feel control going to others.
6 Ways to control your control freak:
- Authorize someone on your team to confront you when you’re controlling. Give them permission to point out controlling language, postures, and behaviors.
- Ask more; command less.
- Adapt to and align with others. Adapting is weakness and failure to control freaks. Everything’s a contest.
- Speak for yourself not others. Control freaks won’t speak from their hearts and won’t let others speak from theirs either. Say what you really think.
- Monitor and reject fear-based decisions. Control freaks are fearful. Fear is best for maintaining and protecting. Courage innovates.
- Go with new ideas. Control freaks default to “no,” unless it’s their idea.
Control your control freak by having real conversations:
Control freaks can’t have conversations because conversations are with not to.
Control ends conversation.
Control freaks can’t listen. They’re constantly wondering how to get what they want.
Candor and control:
Control freaks aren’t candid, they manipulate.
Candor takes courage to own hard things
not just say hard things.
Types of leadership conversations
- Connect. Close the distance. Embrace casual; reject corporate-speak.
- Correct or confront.
- Collaborate. Plan with not for.
Rose Fass, author of, “The Chocolate Conversation,” believes conversations are the single factor that determines success or failure in big business today. Fass on the purpose of conversations and more (3:57):
For a longer list of important “C’s” for leaders visit the Leadership Freak Facebook page (7/3/2013).
How can leaders learn to control their inner control freak?
How can leaders improve their conversation skills?
Add important leadership words that begin with “D” on Facebook for tomorrow’s post.
Leaders can learn to control their inner control freak by more listening and less talking. They should believe that they do not have answer to everything and others may have better answer and solutions to the issues. They should be open to challenge their own thoughts as they can not be always right. Generally those who try to control think that they are more knowledgeable than others. They have to question what they generally think and believe.
Leaders can improve their conversation skill by creating options. They should avoid giving suggestions. They should also avoid being judgmental. They should take various perspective into account while making conversation. Conversation is not debate of who is right and who is wrong. They should understand that conversation is the means to discuss and consider issues from different angle to arrive at amicable solution.
Those who try to control make conversation as a tool to show that they are winner. They try to impose their ideas and thinking. They should avoid doing that.
We’re tracking on the similar tracks today, Ajay.
I believe learning how to have a real conversation will help all us control freaks. For me it includes relaxing. Something control freaks aren’t that great at.
Another think I got from your comment is control freaks are know it all’s… boy that makes sense.
Well so sorry but remember Dan when I shared eloquently I might add when you share, I happen to not be loving it?
One of those days! Just my opinion! If ya hates it no requirement to pays attention and use it! Your attachments don’t bother me at all!!! Hehe
People learn from your drunks!!!!! We worked very hard to figure some stuff out for yas!!!!
Siily is the idiot who is sure he can wrest happiness and satisfaction out of this world only if he manages it well. It can’t be done, too many moving parts with agendas other than yours King Baby!!!!
Just when the folks got your memo from God on how they are supposed to act to serve your will some other idiot walks into your meeting, he overslept, didn’t get his memo, you are screwed!!!! Lol
Plus when you get what u imagine is gonna make u happy? How long? Your ego is a beast!!! Don’t feed the beast! Release the Beast!!
Here is the deal! The word for today, our C word!!! Consciousness!!!!!
Lesson if you get can go far in your useless pursuit of control!!!!
Go into a dark room! Light a candle!!! You can bring light the dark scatters!!!
Go into a Room full of light, cup your hands so you got some darkness in between your hands! Light scatter? Nope!
It is all good!!!
Can t do anything but what we are but we can be completely unaware of the reality of who we really are! Doesnt change who we really are just shows we are pretty dumb, for now!
Good news is you can wakey wakey! Then just spend your time bringing your light wherever you go! Share what you were given to share and see how that works!!!
Gonna work a gaggle better than trying to control stuff!!! Just too many moving parts with agendas to get-er done!!!
Your will not mine HP be done, nothing else please!
The Dude Abides!
Try frequency 528 by the way most excellent vibration I must say!!
I Concur as I vibrate!! Lol
Shifterp Out to share my Light!!!
I’m not sure where you disagree?
That control is possible, it isn’t.
Got to go with the flow not try and control it.
Just my experience. All the examples you used seemed to me to be attempts at showing ways to control others. If we do that we are happy, successful. Temporary strategy temporary results. Feels good for a second and then the gnawing need to feel it again. Cyclical doom!
That is illusion cause we are attempting at that point to satisfy our egos. Can’t be done the purpose of the ego is to always ask for me and never be satisfied!
Self less not ego temptarily satisfied more!
Long trip down the wabbit hole.
Just my opinion, no one has to agree for me know what is true for me. control not possible so don’t give folks pea shooters heading into a fight with a gatlin gun.
It isn’t gonna be pretty!!!!
If you can, hire people who believe what you believe. Then they are up to doing the next right thing just like you. You know they and trust they, are going to do the right thing cause their integrity guides them just like you.
Or work with people who do not believe what u believe and have to try and cajol and manage and check up on to make sure they are doing what they are supposed to.
All once again as always like Simon says. Start with Why
You be disagreeing on a mute point. The post is about people who try to control. We’ll agree that, ultimately, the only person I can control is me.
Thank you for this article!
I struggle between being a “control freak” and being a good leader apparently. I tend to be a “control freak” when I’m working to make sure we’re in compliance with regulatory (Federal and State) guidelines – which is quite often in the health insurance industry. Texas loves their “liquidated damages”!
Thanks for bringing the idea that all control isn’t bad. We’ll have to also agree that “command and control” leadership has a rightful place at the leadership-style table. Crisis situations call for more command and less consensus making, for example.
Having or being in control is different from being a control freak…at least I hope.
Awesome post, Dan. I don’t think of myself as a control freak, but your post forces me to reflect on how others might see me. Love it when you challenge my thinking. Thanks for a great start to the morning.
Thanks Jesse. The post pushes me. All I had to do to describe the control freak is look within my heart. 🙂 Happy Holiday to you
Another great post, Dan. Thank you!
I would add a the following 2 items to your list of ways to control your control freak:
7. Bring people in. Share your thinking with you team- encourage open sharing of background, context, challenges and aspirations…and involve your team co-creatively in decision making- so that all perspectives are considered.
8. Resist the temptation to fix or solve problems that are brought to you. Instead encourage members of your team to propose solutions. Coach them to resolve their own conflicts. In other words work to develop good judgment, independence and leadership, in others.
I agree with Jesse Lyn Stoner- I love starting the day with a hot latte and a leadership freak post!!
Thanks Lori. Great adds. In particular “resist the temptation to fix.” You are kicking my control freak in the pants!
I am learning that holding my tongue and not fixing is painful at first but it helps me connect with people on a deeper level. They let me in.
Ooooh. #8 is a tough one. Especially with my kids, but work, too. Thanks for the reminder 🙂
Thanks. Absolute control freaks won’t have a clue about what say, but the rest of us can remember that we easily default to control when we are fearful. In polite terms it’s called being prescriptive. Letting go of behaving as though we are the only one who knows what others need to do opens up all kinds of possibilities. My inner question when I need to let go is, ‘What’s the goal / vision / outcome that we all want from this situation?’
Love how you focus on the big picture as a way of addressing control freakiness.
I’m in a situation right now where it’s my job to wave the flag about an issue. BUT, it’s not necessary for me to figure out the path forward. I need to hang on to the flag as my leadership role but let others lead at the same time. Best way for me to do this is keep everyone focused on the goal/vision/outcome. Hey? That is what leaders do, right?
Here are some D words…
Effective leaders….. Develop, Discover, Dream
Control freaks…….. Dictate, Demand, Dominate
Have a great day!
Thanks for some brain candy for tomorrow… cheers
Two gems in this one for me! Leaders are control freaks if they “know better and can do better than others”. This is a hard one; I’ve thought several times in the past that life would be easier if I just had about 30 clones. It’s easy to think that we would do better than our followers because the myth is that the leader must be the best at task performance. The leader of a manufacturing plant should have the fastest assembly time, right? This is something of a wake-up call for me as I seek to lead my teams better.
Also, from my past experience, your differentiation between candor and manipulation is spot-on. Love that point. Control freaks think they’re doing us a favor by giving us the “hard truth”. More often than not, it’s less than benevolent. How many times have you heard someone say “I’m sorry if that hurts your feelings, but it’s just the way things are and the way I am.”? Control freaks who think people just have to adjust to their “hard-and-fast” style aren’t candid or honest or frank or efficient. They’re just jerks.
OUCH! Now I know what others must feel when they read some of my posts. Those last two sentence are like sand in the underwear.
Why am I squirming? I’m a control freak. I’d like to say reformed but that would be a misstatement. 🙂
Keep em coming
I’m discovering the control freak in myself. :-p But I’m determined to let go of several control points in the coming months as our team gears up for some major events and changes.
Hey Justin, consider tying go of ALL control points.
Trust the folks who have stuff to do to complete the events.
Leave them be to do what you asked them to be on the team for in the first place for.
Guess what will happen, the events will still get done. The more you leave the ones you trust alone the more they feel you trust them.
Whether it goes worse or better than if you stuck your nose in does not matter. If they feel you trust them more and you do the next and the next and the next will be better.
When they feel you TRUST them, I mean really trust them they will engage more and take ownership of what they are being asked to accomplish.
OR if you have surrounded yourself with people who need you to hover over them pulling back will not be sweet!
Surround yourself with people who believe what you believe, give um cool stuff to do and leave them alone.
Just a suggestion.
Great point, Scott. We’ve built a great team, I just tend to be an over-helper sometimes. On previous teams, I’ve recognized this in myself, thinking “I’m the best salesman, so I should be doing all the selling” and similar sentiments. Needless to say, that became a huge learning experience for me.
Dan, My name is Patrick and I am a control freak, I have been a collaborator/delegator for almost a year now. I have to work every day to make sure I don’t fall off the wagon. I have a whole new life now that I have suddenly found that I am not the only one with good ideas and have trusted my team to get the job done.
I say all of the above tongue and cheek, I do think that no one gets into a manager/leadership position without being somewhat of a control freak. As individual contributors we take control of projects and make sure they get done the right way and after a while people recognize that we can be depended on to get the job done. Once that happens we are promoted to a management position.
The great leaders are the ones that learn to cross over from the darkside and grow their people by collaborating and delegating. It is something you have to work at every day, it is easy to slip into old habits. Thanks for the reminders.
Thanks Patrick. The AA introduction is appropriate. I haven’t even come close to escaping my inner control freak. Frankly, this post irritates the heck out of me.
Thanks for your authenticity.
I work under these types of leaders right now. In fact I’m in the process of putting together a presentation power point for my official “exit interview” with our hospitals general directress…where they ask the (entirely pointless because they should know by now) question “why do you want to go?” I’m going to make sure she is under no illusions anymore as to why people are bailing like it’s the titanic part deux. Institutionalized bullying. Refuse to accept it! 🙂 Great posts. Going all the way to z?
Andrea there is this wonderful guy!! Simon Sinek . He has a website called startwithwhy.com.
He has really great stuff there about finding a new job so your experience is different at the new job.
If you go to work at the next job and you do not choose it by getting a job working with people who believe what you believe your next experience is likely to mimic your last.
Bet if you take some time, you know just on a lark to look into what this guy says it could greatly benefit you.
SP back in!!!
I will do that! I’m taking big steps to ensure my next position suits my talents better and has not the same toxicity level as my current place of employment. I never needed, in the past to ask in an interview whether I was walking in to a tar pit, because it never happened. Now I guess it’s just one more variable I have to be careful of… Thanks for the lead! 🙂
I am a reformed control freak. I have always had high expectations of myself and others. Working in the non-profit world has helped that quite a bit as I have to empower volunteers to want to keep helping us, but works against me when I am in the field doing disaster relief in the moment. I learned to let certain people keep me balanced. Now working in Asia, I have tried to have balancers in place, but it is hard when the culture goes against giving you constructive criticism. You have to learn the very subtle ways they tell you. It’s harder, not impossible, but harder. In the meantime, I have to consciously work harder on being a better empowering leading team member.
Man Randy you sound like such a great guy.
Thanks. Need more like u!!!!
Hey want to see something cool? Check out what Bob Bruder is up to. Google. efe
He is a good guy too.
We talk about developing others a lot. It is nice to learn how to develop ourselves. Thanks for the material.
I am controlling. The trouble is balancing that control with collaboration. Too much of any one trait is a problem. I think that moderation is key. Control when necessary, collaborate and partner the rest of the time. Just put some checks and balances in there to help. I really like the idea of asking for help from others. Great suggestion.
Hire people intent on learning and growing…folks who really stay hungry…and then let them grow.
Dan you are absolutely right about control freaks being bullies because when you try to control everything your way, it would intimidate others working with you. It would also skewed the relationship and communication between you and your team members because no one would be taken new initiatives or communicating directly with you.
Dan, Too much of anything becomes an issue. We’ve all seen people and companies who have taken their strength to beyond the limits until it becomes a weakness. Like Goldilocks, the challenge is to find the “just right” in everything we do with everyone we interact with.
I love to hear your thoughts (via this blog) on “enough”?
I recently started working with a control freak (and the ‘with’ quickly become ‘for’). It has an immediate impact on my own performance and I struggle to break through it (and I am not a timid person, I am normally very confident and high performing). Any tips on how to ‘control the control freak’ when working with one? I have done the direct confrontation (which as expected did not go down well….)