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Let go – 4 Remedies for Exhausted Control Freaks

My wife thinks I’m a control freak. I reject this spectacular exaggeration. It’s true I can’t let go of control, but I’m no freak about it.

Just before she took off on errands I asked if she wanted me to ride along and supervise. She said, no, no, NO! She needs to let go of judging me. And I still think she could use some supervision. She needs to loosen her grip and I’m certain I can help.

Supervision is exhausting for control freaks.

Let go – 4 remedies for exhausted control freaks:

#1. Acknowledge dangers.

  1. Stress. Control freaks go nuts when others stay calm.
  2. Inaction. People won’t act when the boss has his nose in everything.
  3. Over-work. You do too much when you can’t delegate.
  4. Strained relationships. Weak people love control freaks, everyone else says, “No.”

#2. Practice self-awareness.

Know your weaknesses so you can leverage other people’s strengths. Know the strengths on your team so you can elevate performance.

Combine self-awareness with self-acceptance. A person who is good at everything has self-acceptance issues.

#3. Create psychological safety.

Control freaks are volatile and judgmental. Learn basic practices that create safe places.

  1. Find a way to say thank you in every interaction.
  2. Stop talking so others have space to contribute.
  3. Explore how other people’s ideas might work. Go with their plan as long as it isn’t harmful.
  4. Seek advice (and put it into action).
  5. Provide constructive feedback.
  6. Share your own weaknesses.
  7. Talk about things you’re learning.

#4. Extend trust progressively.

Trust people to act consistently with their history. When it comes to novices, extend trust progressively. Don’t hand the keys to the kingdom to the new kid on the team.

How are you learning to not be controlling?


Distrust suggests people are incompetent – it’s subtle rejection of talent. Diminishers seldom thrive in leadership.

Still curious:

The Fear of Failure Makes You Small


Read, “The Fearless Organization,” by Amy Edmondson

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