5 Signs You’re a Control Freak (And What to Do About it)

control freak

While it’s true that everyone has their personal challenges in difficulties, certain personality traits can damage relationships (both personal and professional) and stand in the way of success.  One of them has to do with controlling behavior, the personality quality sometimes called a “control freak.”

Here are five signs that you’re a control freak, and then what to do about it to salvage your success.

  1. Your Inner Voice is Critical

Control freaks have no problem identifying when things are “wrong.” A picture on the wall is crooked, someone makes a grammatical error in writing, the people in the break room are just standing around and wasting time–control freaks take it all in, and notice the flaws and faults. 

But that inner voice is also often highly self-critical, highlighting your mistakes and failures, making you think your success is solely from “hard work” (not also luck or circumstance) and your failure is from personal shortcomings.

    2. You Jump in and Take Care of Business

As hard as you might be on yourself, you also trust yourself more than any other to get the job done.  This may lead you to jump in and do things, in the name of help or completion of a task, when you see others stumble, falter, take awhile, or even for no reason at all.

Control freaks struggle to delegate, and to truly stay hands-off after delegation.

    3. You Limit Yourself to Things at which You Excel

Control freaks despise failure, and so it’s not unusual to see a control freak limit himself or herself to the fields and areas at which he or she will excel.  A new sport or physical activity, a game at which you might lose, or even a visit to an unfamiliar social setting, might make a control freak really uncomfortable.

Rather than to feel that discomfort, control freaks often stick with routines.

    4. You have Relationship Difficulties

Control freaks live in denial–it’s not them, it’s everyone else.  So, other people may tell you you’re a perfectionist, or that your controlling behavior is difficult to deal with, but it’s much easier for you to see the ways in which others should act differently (not so much you).

    5. You Still Don’t See It

One of the characteristics of control freaks is how difficult it is to see that it’s even a problem.  You may see yourself as overworked, having to make all of the decisions, or more capable of seeing tasks through to completion, but seeing the connection to these qualities and being a control freak may be harder to see. 

Make a Change

Fortunately, personalities are flexible. In times past, researchers believed that personality remained relatively fixed over time, but new research has shed light on the fact that people can causatively mold their own personality. To balance the five traits listed above, here are five steps to changing your control-freak nature:

  1. Practice relinquishing control — just make yourself delegate
  2. Listen to others’ ideas and try them
  3. Discipline your inner voice to become less critical — instead find things you admire
  4. Say “I’m sorry” without qualifiers or explanations (or justifications) when you have offended others
  5. Remind yourself daily to make your desired change

With practice, over time, it is possible to relinquish control and be more agreeable.  You may soon find that people talk to you more freely, enjoy collaborating with you, and feel more valued by you. 

What’s more, giving up that control freak nature can help you grow a team that will truly expand, bringing your business to whole new levels of success. 

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