Let Go of Your Need for Control

I have a secret to admit.

I'm a control freak.  I have always been this way. 

When planning a family vacation, I propose the destination, and I plan the sites we are going to visit, the exact time that we have to leave and the time we should be back for dinner. 

I thought others welcomed my ability to take charge.  They wanted me to plan our family gatherings or take the lead of the project.  While some of this may be true, no one wants you to control every single detail. 

So, when does being a control freak gets in the way?  When does it go from being helpful to creating conflict on teams, and impacting relationships?


Being a control freak causes undue pressure on yourself and others.  You set a standard for yourself for a project that you took on.  No one requested you to take on this responsibility.  Also, you create undue stress on others with your demands and expectations.


A controlling personality may lead to worrying and anxiety.  For example, a controlling person who is attempting to lose weight may become upset at the slow progress they are making.  Getting angry when things are beyond your control impacts your health. 


A controlling personality may have a significant impact on your relationships with others.  When you are directing and controlling, others may feel that you are demanding and feel disconnected from you as an individual.  While you are focused on coordinating work and ensuring that everyone adheres to the project plan, others like to have fun, engage and build relationships. 

Having a controlling personality can be successfully managed with a few minor adjustments.

First, include others in your plan.  Gain their input and buy-in before you decide on the way forward.  Ask colleagues or family what they think about your ideas?  Ask what they would do differently.  When you get input from others, it allows you to connect and build relationships and demonstrate that you value their ideas.

Second, share the wealth.  Have others help you in executing the project.  Utilize their strengths and have them support you in areas that energize them and makes them feel valued.

Finally, control your stress and anxiety.  Recognize that you can only control what is within your capacity.  In situations where you do not have control, you have to be flexible and be accepting of a different approach to your plan.  

Always needing to control every process can potentially lead to your downfall. Successful leaders let go of control and empower others to take the lead.  As the leader, you may not have all the answers and must recognize the value that others bring to the table.

The concept sounds very simple, but in real life, it is challenging to give up our control.  However, with practice, we can learn how to let things go and continue to be productive.  Our Everything DiSC profile assessments help you to become aware of your DiSC® personality style and the blind spots that impact your ability to communicate, influence and build relationships with others effectively.  Everything DiSC profile offers solutions and tips for you to improve your behavioral preferences and respond accordingly.


Additional Articles and Resources

DiSC® Profiles:  I Style

DiSC® Work of Leaders

DiSC® Workplace Profile