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A Workplace Guide to Managing Your Control Freak Boss or Team Member

Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobsThose that know me know I’m a control freak who is extremely stubborn, highly creative and often difficult to work with. And that’s also how I described myself down to the letter when I was recently interviewing candidates for a position that directly reports to me.

Those that know me know I’m a control freak who is extremely stubborn, highly creative and often difficult to work with. And that’s also how I described myself down to the letter when I was recently interviewing candidates for a position that directly reports to me.

It’s No Laughing Matter

While some may laugh, I wasn’t kidding. Being a control freak is a work in progress. I have been working on “letting go” my entire professional career. Some days are good and some days are bad. I recognize this is no different when my co-workers, peers and team members who I have to work with, supervise and collaborate with ongoing.

Being a control freak is in my nature, as my Meyer’s Briggs Type Indicator is an ENFP. The key is that I recognize and understand that sometimes it is no walk in the park to work with someone like me.

Not every boss or organizational leader will admit their shortcomings at work, let alone during an interview with a prospective hire. Many won’t even consider working on a personal development plan to improve, develop or grow. But hope is not lost: you can work to help them overcome their control freak habits and shortcomings.

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Build Trust

The key to managing or handling a control freak starts with trust. Building trust is all about being prepared to answer my laundry list of questions, concerns and working to overcome those objections or what you might call roadblocks I’ve placed in your way. This trust starts with meeting deadlines and executing where I often expect you might fail. Please don’t take personally; I, and many other control freaks, just have hard time thinking that anyone can do a job, task or project as good as or better than I.

Use Jedi Mind Tricks

By Jedi mind tricks I mean anticipating my moves, my questions and most importantly my concerns. Like Young Skywalker in Star Wars Episode IV, let the force flow through you to anticipate my questions, concerns and most importantly provide me with information, reports and a timely follow up communication before I even had to ask. This is the best way to win not just my trust but for me to recognize that you are committed to completing this project or task just as much if not more than me.

I’m not asking you to manipulate the space-time continuum, but I am telling you the best way to win against someone who loves to be in control. You need to come armed with resources and information to anticipate every objection, but without making me feel like an uneducated baboon for not knowing.

Focus on the Relationship

As a card holding member of the control freak club, I can tell you the reason I am a control freak is because I’ve been burned before. I’ve given my trust, been disappointed or left a meeting with egg on my face because what I committed to didn’t get done.

The key to winning over a control freak is going beyond that work relationship, and finding a commonality. Maybe its football, Orange is the New Black or my love of photography. Taking the time to focus on the relationship helps softens my exterior. By building a personal connection and relationship, I understand you are committed to the work, which makes it easier for me to let loose the reins a bit.

What do you think?

Got a control freak in your life, or do you recognize the above symptoms in your own behaviors? Let’s talk about it here – please leave your comments below!

Jessica Miller-Merrell
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