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.”
7 things that ignite tantrums in control freaks:
- People who think for themselves. “Shut-up and do it my way!”
- Pressure to adapt. “I’m right.”
- Listening. Control freaks need to talk, not listen. “I hear you, but….”
- Having the “right” answer. Control freaks always have “right” answers. The burden of right answers is nearly impossible to bear.
- Encountering others who feel self-important.
- Being told what to do, rather than telling others what to do.
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?
Your posts fall into 3 categories for me: 1) Some validate how I feel about situations/philosophies/etc 2) Some make me wince in realization you are describing me 3) Some are both a mirror and a window; this post was the latter and as such I’ve forwarded it to many dear colleagues.
May I however request a follow-up? Perhaps a few pointers on how to counter-act/diffuse the 7 triggers of tantrums? Would love to hear your thoughts on this!
Thanks Taber. I noticed this post had more problem than solution and wondered how it would land. Thanks for your feedback and suggestions. I would love to read your thoughts on responding the the seven triggers, too. ???
Actually it’s not question of control , it’s may be power of rambling thoughts which settled down somewhere in subconscious mind and force them to behave in haphazard fashion. What do you want control and why? More precisely it’s question of inner control rather then outer control. Once poor practices sets such can be hard to control then leads to taking control promptly rather need of releasing. It’s question of big why and how set the control on ramble state of rambled thoughts
Thanks Vinay. If I follow your comment, the idea of managing our desire to control things is to turn inward on ourselves and learn to control ourselves. At the same time, let go the need to control things outside ourselves.
It’s frustrating to try to control things that our outside our control. However, that hasn’t stopped me in the past.
I’ve worked for a few control freaks, and I figured out that many times they really had the best interests of the organization at heart, but were handicapped by their controlling tendencies. If everyone is acting in good faith, I found it helpful to make the discussion not about me vs. them, or my way vs. their way, but focused on mission and desired results, from a perspective of mutual respect. I guess you could call it ego-stroking, but many control freaks have a need to feel validated, and getting past that they can and will turn to productive problem solving. Head-butting is almost never the best course. I have encountered a few true, no compromise “my way or the highway” types, but they are in the minority.
Thanks Jim. Your comment is so helpful. You give me a sense of rising up to the big picture rather than sinking into details. In either case, head-butting with a control freak only invites more head-butting.
By the way, my inner control freak has the best intentions. He doesn’t want to harm. He wants to help. It’s not the desire to help that get’s me in trouble. It’s the approach and method I choose.
Your picture is really apt. That’s exactly how control freaks feel to me.
Thanks Thessauron. It made me laugh and see a bit of myself at the same time. Glad you enjoyed.
I use to be a Marine Corps Drill Instructor. One might already label me as a control freak already, but hitting control freaks head on is what I enjoy doing. A control freak is a control freak simply because their behaviors have always rewarded them with what they want and actually enables them to continue. You might say a control freak is a bully who needs to fail a few times and watch the team pick him up and show him the way. It makes him realize how foolish he’s been and become a team player over time. When we wake up each morning, the world awaits our response. It is our response to the world that is measured. A control freak is usually selfish and centrally focussed. Usually either an only child or the oldest child.
I’m sure I struck a few cords on that last comment.
Thanks Darrin. Several things in your comment hit home with me. The inclusion of bullying made me sit up straight and pay attention. The other is the connection of controlling and working with teams. You opened my thinking to two unexplored areas.
How does a control freak learn to let go (at least a little)? Fail. The trouble is, we can succeed in small ways with fearful people with a controlling approach.
Thanks Dan. Your compliments mean a lot to me. Control Freaks aren’t necessarily bad people. They are very passionate people who have had to make decisions by themselves their whole lives. Some fight for their decisions because they don’t want to clean up the mess of others’ decisions. The point is, the end result remains the same, control freaks take away the potential of everyone else in the team. They remove the innovative thought because everyone else is afraid or not allowed to speak up. Control freaks can be converted into being great leaders, but their power must be removed first, then rebuild them. It’s a true art in leadership development in building success in people.
I love this subject. I could write a paper on it.
There is more potential in the people who are afraid to speak up than the control freak.
Control freaks seem to see the world in black and white as opposed to black, white, and grey. Generally speaking there is much grey in between the black and white, and this area is fertile with ideas for most creative folk. Creative people are usually looking for ways to better work logistics and process, and not necessarily push the envelope, but are more times than not blocked or speedbumped with those ideas, because they are not black and white. Micro-management also can be frustrating to a thinker, especially when the job is being accomplished efficiently….granted, it is necessary for underlings to follow rules, regulations and protocols. But there is usually quite a bit of ‘wiggle’ room for new though and ideas.
I have learned to be cool as a cucumber with these fellows who love to make me feel like I have done something wrong even though all evidence shows that I am stellar at what I put my hand to. Over the past 20 years, I had two great jobs doing work that I love doing, with health ins. PAID over 20 years (10 yrs at each). Neither of those successful men were overbearing in the least. Then when I went to work for a few places that were terrible jobs working for foreigners who do not love our country and do not have our intelligence or our capability but since the Obama administration took over running our country those seem to be the only places an American can work. Even in the face of that I am victorious! I do not react whatsoever to hype. The evidence speaks for itself.