Three Ways to Control Your Inner Control Freak

Control freak

Do you lurk over shoulders, demand to be copied on every email, and resist delegating work?  At what point in your career did being in control turned in to being obsessed?  If you identify with this, there are ways to control your inner control freak.

If you are a control freak, it’s likely you are a successful and competent leader. But, controlling everything comes at a mental cost.  Long-term, it is extremely taxing on yourself and on the coworkers around you.

Here are three ways to control your inner control freak.

If the pandemic taught us anything, it taught us that we are not in control.  No matter how prepared we think we are, our circumstances can change on a dime and there is nothing we can do about it. 

Understanding that we cannot control everything is a skill that can be learned.  Licensed social worker Amy Morin counsels people on control: “Many people who enter my therapy office with depressionanxiety, and stress-related issues have one thing in common: They spend a lot of time focusing on things they can’t control.”  She advises them to work on the one thing they can control, which is their own emotions: “They’re putting their energy into the wrong places. Rather than controlling their emotions, they’re always trying to control the environment — and the people in it.”

#1 Know What is in Your Control and Out of Your Control

Ultimately, we do not control other people.  We can do our best to set others up for success, but people have their own minds and will have their own successes and failures. 

#2 Establish Quality Controls for Your Business

You may not be able to control everything, but you can focus your efforts on developing rock-solid procedures and standards.  You can hire good people and develop solid training, onboarding, and mentorship programs.  You can set realistic goals and follow through to measure progress. “CEOs that are the bad kind of “control freaks” are the ones who never let go. The productive “control freaks” are the ones that very deliberately train their employees, so that when it’s time to let go, they trust everything will be just fine,” says Bill Green of Inc.  Green recommends adequate training on the quality that is expected.  CEOs should also take the time to check in with employees in person to give positive reinforcement.

#3 Be Self-Aware

If you are a control freak and want to make a change, it means giving up some control and trusting that everything will be fine.  Be aware of your own feelings as you learn to let go.  Here is a simple, yet effective exercise.  Try making cookies from scratch with a small child and let them “help.” As they inevitably do things their own way, observe your reaction.  Can you step back so they can try? How frustrated are you throughout the process?  At what point do you take over?

Most of us could benefit from being more aware of our work environment. Here are some ways to experience true joy at work.

Take a Breath

You may also need to force yourself to relax.  “In the beginning stages of my business I was a control freak over my inbox,” says finance expert Amanda Abella. “I would obsessively check my email just in case something went wrong (pretty sure this is some form of PTSD from my last job). Eventually, I had to learn how to cut it out. First, by trusting my virtual assistant take the reigns of my email. Second, by literally forcing myself to stick to some sort of semblance of a work schedule. That means I don’t check email past 4 p.m. or on weekends. It wasn’t easy at first, and it sometimes still isn’t, but I force myself to do it anyway.”

Handing over control is ultimately easier when you know your business is capable hands. This means hiring the right people.  Take the time up front to get the top tier candidates you deserve. Turn to Artemis Consultants, an expert in recruiting top talent in SaaS, B2B and Data Services.

Written exclusively for Artemis Consultants by Content Writer Mellody Melville

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