How to Cope With a Control Freak Boss

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Control freaks are people who are obsessed with things being done correctly and with avoiding any possible mistakes. Their distrust and inability to allow you to perform your job has less to say about their vision of you personally than it does about their vision of themselves in relation to the world. Rebuffing a control freak who is your boss will simply open the way for an ongoing power struggle between the two of you over every detail of your job. Learning the proper way to negotiate and handle your controlling boss will help ease tension in the workplace.

  • Listen and be patient. A control freak has an obsessive need to be heard, and not allowing him or her to have his say in how he wants things could be seen as insubordination on your part. Let him lay out his vision for the project, repeat it back to him slowly and carefully, and when he has agreed that you understand it, tell him you need to get to work on it!

  • Be specific. Control freaks worry when all the bases aren't covered. Verbalizing a specific time frame for delivery will help him or her relax enough to quit pestering you while you get your work done. Send frequent updates on the progress made, to forestall those annoying surprise visits at your desk.

  • Deliver what you say you will. Nothing will get a control freak boss on your case more quickly than failure to follow through on a promise. If something looks as if it will not be finished on time, be sure to give plenty of advance notice and a specific follow-up plan that details the new time frame and provides an explanation for the original goal not being reached.

  • Approach any meddling by your boss as a direct attack on your ability to finish the task on time. Verbalize any new restrictions or demands as a renegotiation of the project and express the need to reassess the time frame to complete it. This will help to minimize future interference.

  • Remain calm during all your dealings with your boss. Control freaks thrive on tension and have a tendency to induce panic in others with their fear and intensity. As they become more irritated and demanding, remain calm and focused, reassuring your boss things are going exactly as planned.

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