‘If I don’t control I will be controlled….

And I can’t live with that…….’ - More leaders have control issues than we would think.

Where is the controlling need coming from?

It is an anxiety-based need to take charge and control situations and people’s actions to one’s own will.  This anxiety can reach the sky along with impatience when that is not possible.

What does it look like if you are a control-freak leader?

You have strong energy, you are wilful, and confrontational. You connect with others through competition, challenge, or conflict rather than softer emotions. Sometimes you don’t understand why others feel hurt. People can feel intimidated by you and play low key as much as possible. You are a puppet-master, everything has to be done in your way, because you don’t trust others to do good enough for you. You love challenges, and come alive when doing the impossible. You are a straight talker, your face-to-face communication can be perceived by others as anger or criticism. You expect compliance, tend to devalue others’ ideas, therefore, people stop thinking, and developing around you. You can still get temporary results but at the cost of others feeling controlled, and hurt. Also you generate a great deal of anxiety around yourself.

What are your thoughts and feelings?

Everything black and white, you are either in control or out of control. You keep telling yourself if you work hard enough you can and should control the situation, because others want and need you to take control, therefore, you are doing them a favour.

Your feelings are high anxiety when things are not going your way. You become angry and intimidating when others don’t follow you, get impatient with other’s feelings and different styles. And you may feel hurt and rejected, although never or rarely admit to it.

How do you justify yourself? Which is in fact a lie.

Your inner talk: “Without me, as a controller, you can’t get much done, therefore, I need to push people. And I am doing this for all our sakes. If I don’t control, I will be controlled and then I can’t live with that.”

What is the original survival function of controlling?

Controllers are sometimes related to early life experiences where the child is forced to grow up fast, be on its own, and take charge of the chaotic and dangerous surroundings in order to survive physically and/or emotionally. It is also associated with being hurt, rejected or betrayed and then deciding to never be that vulnerable again.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how controlling are you (1 not at all, 10 very much)?

What do you need to control in order to feel OK?

What are your justification lies for controlling? What is your little man in your head telling you why it is so important for you to control?


Source: Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine

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