You make piercing eye contact.You’re brilliant and waste no words on chitchat. When you speak, you reveal no empathy, just mission and strategy.
- Your people may refer to a legendary story or behavior about you. Example: When you grow angry because you haven’t gotten your way, you “snort and puff like a wild animal.”
- If someone asked you why you’re so controlling, you’d say that it’s just who you are, and that you’re faster and smarter and more focused than everyone else. You really believe that if people did everything your way, they’d save a lot of time and accomplish more.
- But if someone asked you whether this style works, and you’re honest, you’d say “No.”
1. Collect feedback about your behavior from colleagues and direct reports. One popular way: Conduct a 360-degree review, then modify your basic behavior as per the review.
2. Find ways to incorporate empathy into your communication. You have to abandon your own point of view for a few moments. For example, instead of “Did you finish your assignment?” say: “I know that came with a lot of instructions. How’s it going?”
3. Loosen up. Try to recall what early experience made you feel that you couldn’t gain control of a situation, or that you might lose control of it. Accept that this fear exists, then banish it. The fear of loss is a powerful thing, but you can overcome it.
4. Recognize that, along with tightly controlling behavior comes the delusion that it’s necessary.
— Adapted from Face It: Recognizing and Conquering the Hidden Fear That Drives All Conflict at Work, Art Horn, Amacom.