The Art of Losing Your Control Freak Persona
It goes with the territory…most business entrepreneurs have some element of a control freak in their nature. Lurking somewhere beneath the surface, it can rise up and strike at any time. It might be apparent to others or it could be so subtly hidden that even you don’t know it’s there. But it’s a monster, nevertheless, that can sabotage your odds of success.
In the slang of psychology, the colloquial term control freak describes a person with a personality disorder characterized by undermining other people, usually by way of controlling behaviour manifested in the ways that they act to dictate the order of things in a social situation.
Clearly, that idea of wanting to maintain a sense of control can work in your favour, but it also can prove to be an obstacle if left unchecked. Simply put, it may be time to let go to a degree and realize that the entire burden of your enterprise doesn’t need to fall squarely on you. In order to do that, however, you need to be able to recognize those situations where your desire for full control is taking over your better judgment. Here are a few ways that you can determine if you fall into this category.
Micromanagement Is The Way
In our western culture, nobody likes to be micromanaged. Not only it is fairly annoying, but it also often an inefficient way to manage work done as it takes much more resources in form of human capital to get the same amount of work done.
Aren't you sure if you are the micromanaging boss people tell you are? Here are 5 signs that you micromanage far too much.
- You try to manage people as opposed to lead them.
- You tend to shut down ideas that you don’t propose.
- You hover excessively in an attempt to control and oversee everything.
- You intrude on employees’ lives, professionally and personally.
- You explain and direct everything down to the nth degree.
Work Always Wins Out Over Play
Many bright and talented entrepreneurs put fun on the back-burner, for the sake of building their business. But then they forget to retrieve it later. If you recognize that trait in yourself, be mindful that you could be compromising your creativity because a fertile, creative mind needs stimuli outside of the workplace to function at its fullest. It needs a place and space for play, so you can formulate new ideas and gather energy from the dynamics of interaction with others. While working around the clock might generate short-term results, the law of diminishing returns will take over at some point in time.
You Constantly Multi-Task
Understandably, people often take great pride in their ability to multi-task. But having that ability doesn’t mean it should be put to full use every moment of every day. Many health and psychology experts say that multi-tasking actually can be synonymous with Attention Deficit Disorder. It causes you to lose focus, and others will quickly notice that you’re not really listening. It’s important to do one thing at a time, and do it well and completely, then move on to the next task. You’re running a business so, sure, you sometimes may have to tackle several different issues at once. If it starts to become a habit, though, step back and consider if someone could do some of what you’re doing – which leads us to the next issue.
You Don’t Trust Others
If you have assistants to help you with your business, or partners with whom you work side by side, it will become necessary to rely on their opinions and capabilities at times. This is where trust is important. Don’t try to micro-manage those who are attempting to help you. If you’re not going to trust your staff, your business partners or your vendors, then why are you even working with them?
You Believe You’re in Charge of Everything
Trying to be the straw that stirs the drink in everything you do is a recipe for failure. Realize that others have talents and special skills that are valuable to you. Instead of being competitive with them and trying to emphasize your place as the irreplaceable source, concentrate on the areas where you truly excel and leave some of the remaining work for others. There is room for more than one smart person. If you worry about controlling everything, burnout won’t be far behind.
You Hate Chaos
Try as you might, there’s nothing you can do about the world being a disorganized mess at times. This being the case, it’s important to accept the hitches in your plan. Rather than becoming upset or panicky, relax and address the challenges, one at a time. You don’t have to be Ms. or Mr Perfect; everyone has a few unresolved issues during the course of a business day. When you don’t overreact, you eventually figure out a workable solution.
If you have one, your Inner Control Freak will never really leave you. But you can control it and channel its powerful energy in positive ways. Practice flexibility in your life and that burning desire for control will prove to be less of a liability and more of an asset.
This Doesn't Have To End Here
But there are more signs you are a controlling person. You are an overcontrolling person, if:
- You believe that if someone would change one or two things about themselves, you'd be happier. So you help them change this behaviour by pointing it out, usually over and over.
- You micromanage others to make them fit your (often unrealistic) expectations. You don't believe in imperfection and you don't think anyone else should either.
- You judge others' behaviour as right or wrong and passive-aggressively withhold attention until they fall in line with your expectations. Sitting in silent judgment is a master form of control.
- You offer constructive criticism as a veiled attempt to advance your own agenda.
- You change who you are or what you believe so that someone will accept you. Instead of just being yourself, you attempt to incept others by managing their impression of you.
- You present worst-case scenarios in an attempt to influence someone away from certain behaviours and toward others. This is also called fear-mongering.
- You have a hard time with ambiguity and being OK with not knowing something.
- You intervene on behalf of people by trying to explain or dismiss their behaviours to others.