control freaksThe compulsion to control at work can be so strong that we rarely stop to consider how much it harms us, our employees, and of course, our business. This is particularly true with respect to micro-managers, nit-pickers, and other control freaks.

In a previous post, Work Control: Five Ways It Harms You and How to Avoid It, I outlined some of the pitfalls of excessive work control and offered some tips on how to let it go.   One of the harms I mentioned was that “Our interactions with others become abrasive and confrontational instead of co-operative and thoughtful.”

Research is now confirming the importance of business leaders’ controlling less, and establishing positive relationships with their employees.  A May 18, 2017 article by Rob Waugh in UK Yahoo News, Results Driven Control Freaks Aren’t Always the Best Managers, Research Finds, cites Professor Oyvind Lund Martinsen, head of Department of Management and Organization at the BI Norwegian Business School, as saying that research to date suggests that leaders should focus on being relationship-oriented.   The Professor states:

“Employees expect a great deal of autonomy, that is, influence on their own working day, and to be given the leeway to solve challenges at work on their own…The idea of the ‘slave driver’ manager—brimming with genius ideas—is popular with board members, but disastrous with employees. …This kind of … driven executive who manages the company based on production requirement and meeting goals, is often on a collision course with today’s employees.” 

Let me go a step further. It is my belief that most control freak bosses (and executives) are, in fact, “poor” managers.   Because they are so rigid and inflexible, they are unable to adapt to the ebb and flow of the “work currents,” putting them out of sync (and likely touch) with what needs to be timely addressed.   When everything is “so important” to them, how can they discern what truly is important?   Consequently, costly diversions of time, energy, and resources become the norm.  Moreover, by being so controlling, they are  “blinded” from spotting potentially profitable paths and choices.   Simply put, excessive control restricts, binds, and limits both at work and at home.

Please Share Your Experiences with Control Freak Bosses 

Have you ever worked for a control freak boss or manager?   What impact did their behavior have on your work production? On your creativity? On you personally? On your co-workers?   How did you deal with the situation?  Were you able to stand up to him or her?  Please share your experiences with us!!

In the meantime, remember to

Let It Go—and Accept What Is 


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