Control freaks make good bosses


Cheryl Cran , author of Control Freak Revolution and president of Synthesis at Work Inc. explains why she believes control freaks can make the best leaders.

“Control freak” is a pejorative in the English language. How do you see this character trait as a positive? You are right. “Control freak” has always been used in negative terms. I say that there are positive elements to being a control freak. Typically, control freaks want order, consistency and perfection. Their behavior is negative only when they insist everyone be just like them.

I am encouraging control freaks to shift to positive ways to use control.

Surely no one wants a control freak as a boss. Actually, employees prefer to work for someone who has a clear vision, goals and purpose. Control freaks have all of these things. When control freaks learn to focus on balanced control, they are well respected. Give me a control freak boss over a wishy-washy wimp any day.

What does it take to become a “good” sort of control freak? To be a “funky” control freak, the person needs to be highly self-aware. They need to catch themselves when they exhibit negative and destructive behaviors. They need to be other-focused vs. self-focused. They need to be self-revealing about their “control freakness.”

Are you a control freak yourself? I am a recovering control freak! I used to be the type of leader who had to over-control. This only got me so far in my career. I had a couple of great bosses who bluntly told me I would not get to the executive level without changing my behavior. They were right — my success skyrocketed when I sought coaching to help me change.

How to learn from leadership leaders

The Replacements

82% – Percentage of CIOs who say they expect their replacements to be from within their companies’ ranks.

38% – Percentage who say their companies have a formal succession plan in place for the CIO position. Source: CDW IT Monitor survey of 1,000 IT decision-makers, June 2008

Tracking the Class of ’93

Ten years after graduation, members of the class of 1993 with a degree in computer science had been at the same job an average of about six years.

That’s longer than any of the other categories of degree-holders that were looked at in a study produced by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. The results were reported in the summer 2008 issue of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Quarterly.

The study also found that those with a computer science degree were more likely to be employed both in 1994, one year after graduation, and in 2003, 10 years after graduation. In both years, their salaries were above the average for the study, but the computer science group constituted just 2% of all undergraduate degree recipients in 1993.

Those with degrees in arts and humanities were making the least one year after graduation (US$25,000), and those with education degrees were at the bottom of the salary rankings 10 years after graduation ($43,800).

One year out of school, those with degrees in health, engineering, and business and management were all making more than those with computer science degrees, but 10 years after collecting the sheepskin, only engineers had a higher salary average.

(Jamie Eckle)

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