Dealing with a Control Freak’s Tantrum

It feels great to get your way and lousy when you don’t.

Hot emotion is a control freak’s tantrum.

Popping veins and red faces are an adult’s way of throwing themselves on the floor and kicking their feet.

Withdrawal and sulking are alternative strategies used by control freaks to manipulate others. “I’m not playing anymore. I’m going home and taking my toys with me.”

control freaks need to talk not listen.png

7 things that ignite tantrums in control freaks:

  1. People who think for themselves. “Shut-up and do it my way!”
  2. Pressure to adapt. “I’m right.”
  3. Listening. Control freaks need to talk, not listen. “I hear you, but….”
  4. Having the “right” answer. Control freaks always have “right” answers. The burden of right answers is nearly impossible to bear.
  5. Encountering others who feel self-important.
  6. Being told what to do, rather than telling others what to do.
  7. Interruptions.

You not others:

Hot emotion is about you. Two people sit through the same meeting. One emerges refocused. The other gets high blood-pressure.

Own the hot emotions and negative strategies you choose when things don’t go your way.


When your control freak acts up, hope the power goes out.

A client told me about a phone conversation that was escalating toward absurdity. Volume went up. Words came faster. Then the power went out.

About fifteen minutes later he reconnected with his “phone partner.” They both laughed at how intense their conversation had become.

Time allows hot emotions to cool. When you feel your inner control freak kicking and screaming, take a break.

Hot emotion doesn’t produce “cool” decisions.

Taking control vs. needing control:

There’s a difference between taking control and needing control. Taking control means taking the helm and steering the ship toward an agreed upon destination. But, those who need control struggle to adapt as they go. It’s “My way or the highway.”

How do you deal with hot emotion?

How might leaders manager their inner control freak?