Manager's Tips and Tools

by Manager Development Services

What are “Control Freaks?”


Some people have an inner “need” to feel in control.  This “need” is usually motivated by insecurity and fear.  Oddly enough, many control freaks do not realize they are controlling.  Most believe they are helping.  If I understand what drives this behavior, it makes it easier for me to deal with it, and I better deal with it because this behavior in an employee will poison my work environment.

Even with good intentions, and most do have good intentions, controllers will dominate, not only others, projects, and meetings, but all areas of the department.  The old adage, “Give him an inch and he’ll take a mile” is true for controllers.  This behavior stifles creativity and creates dissension.  A couple of cues to recognize controllers are:

  • They tend to interrupt before others are finished.
  • They tend to over-talk others.
  • They will have a particular seat where they always sit at meetings and they will protect their “usual place.”
  • They will often spread binders, notebooks, papers, folders, etc., out in front of themselves at meetings to “mark-off” their territory.
  • They always seem to have a “better” idea, which often plays off another person’s idea.
  • They always have to have the last word.
  • They hate being interrupted, but will interrupt others because their idea is “better.”
  • They’re good at offering suggestions or advice on how others should think or behave, and especially how others should do their work.
  • They will tend to subtly, and almost covertly, take over the running of a meeting.
  • They have “constructive” criticism about everything and everyone.
  • They invade personal space to make others feel uncomfortable and defensive.

Like I said, I better deal with this behavior because this behavior in an employee will poison my work environment.

– excerpt from “The ‘Art’ of Counseling Staff”


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May 18, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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