When that doesn't happen and folks actually exercise their free will, a whole host of dramatic and, in retrospect, foolish stuff happens.
Folks get upset and act out, withdraw, go all guerilla warfare on folks, and relationships are damaged and destroyed. Work slows down and folks start doing enough to get by.
We all know folks who have full blown cases of moderate to severe control addiction. We've worked for some or been peers of some. Many of us have been or are that contorling. Been there? Done that?
Anyone who says they haven't is lying to somebody.
Where does this need to make everything turn out as it's conceived in our individual, solitary brains come from? What's the cost of this behavior and, more importantly, what's available to us if we are open to outcomes, actually welcome other's ideas and approach them from a mindset of abundance and collaboration?
According to Glenn Croston, Ph.d in his book, The Real Story of Risk, the less we feel in control, the less we are willing to risk. We all have a need to have some control over our lives. If we're not feeling in control of our inside lives, we try to compensate by controlling our outside lives.
"When you don’t have control over your inside world, you tranquilize and sedate yourself by controlling the outside world and other people,” said Edie Raether, consultant and a practicing psychotherapist for many years.
What's the cost?
What's lost is opportunity to learn and grow by all sides of every interaction where this behavior is acted out. What's lost is better, more effective, more revenue generating business outcomes and greater adoption of solutions. Folks tend to rally around, use, and advocate for what they help build. That means having some control of the process.
For leaders, what's lost is innovative teams, free flowing information and ideas, openly, respectfully resolved as well as employee engagement.
Recovery is as beneficial and compelling as the costs of dealing with this behavior are numbing. Increased innovation, open communication, resolved conflict, connected teams and engaged employees are at stake. What's the revenue attached to getting more, WILLING, productivity from a team? What's the revenue attached to a healthy work environment...to a healthy home life? It must be in the billions...it is certainly priceless to me.
So...is there a twelve step program for control freaks? There seems to be a program or some kind of recovery programs for gambling, drugs, alcohol, sex, video games, and everything else under the sun.
Can folks with moderate to severe control addition change? If we recognize ourselves as addicted, what would it take to bring us to the point of decision and make a change? Each of us has our own answer for that question.
For me it was finally realizing that controling everything wasn't working anymore. I wanted to stop being alone. That meant letting people in authentically. Being responsible. Being vulnerable. It meant stop talking about it (in my case, thinking about it) and start doing it.
Although there may be no formal 12 step program, it is possible for a person to recover from moderate to severe control addiction. Folks do reinvent themselves from time to time and in that reinvention discover brilliant layers of themselves and how they can be present in all their personal and professional roles. I have witnessed such wonders.
I use the word, "recovery" because the need to control our lives is normal, natural and basically comes from a desire to be safe. We will always want saftey. We have choices, however, control ourselves and our response to the world or try to control the world. The world is bigger and has so many wonderful things in it for us as we are present and open to them.
It's not easy. Standing for openness requires practice and not all practice is perfect.
It may require support and accountability.
The practice and progress is fulfilling and enriching.
The outcome is a wonderful place on this journey we call life.
The first step...is noticing.