Needy People: Working Successfully with Control Freaks and Approval-holics

Dale J. Dwyer, Ph.D.

Everybody knows someone who is over-controlling or who needs a great deal of approval. Or it may be that you are dealing with your own frustrations and struggles with control or approval. In either case, Needy People: Working Successfully with Control Freaks and Approval-holics is written for you! Learn the six challenges that derail job performance and career development and how the underlying needs for control and approval are the main culprits in undermining credibility and trustworthiness in the workplace. The book also provides you with tools and approaches for dealing with overly controlling or approval-seeking co-workers, as well as helping to improve your own workplace relationships with bosses, direct reports, and peers.

About the Author

Dr. Dale J. Dwyer joined The University of Toledo faculty in 1989 and is a Professor of Management and former Chair of the Department of Management. He holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and both an M.A. and B.A. in Communication from the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Dwyer is an award-winning teacher and the author of the top-selling SHRM-published book, “Got a Minute? The 9 Lessons Every HR Professional Must Learn” (2010), as well as “Got A Solution? HR Approaches to 5 Common and Persistent Business Problems” (2014), both with co-author Dr. Sheri A. Caldwell. His newest book is entitled, “Needy People: Working Successfully with Control Freaks and Approval-holics.” Dr. Dwyer consults with both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations on human resource management and leadership development projects. His research is primarily in the area of employee control and stress, and he holds board memberships and offices with several professional societies and community boards.

Who's YOUR Chuck?

I often get asked, "What do I do when my boss is the Control Freak?" Here is one situation that occurs all-too-frequently:

My boss (my Chuck) has control issues, and when he doesn't get his way, he starts taking it out on everyone else. I try to stay out of his way when he gets like that. But, how do I stand up for myself when I know I did nothing wrong?

That is one of the symptoms of a Control Freak Chuck--blame everyone but yourself. Try to remember that his vindictiveness is really a mask for embarassment about his own ability to maintain or regain control. In this, he is also somewhat like the Approval-holic who needs people to see him as competent. The difference is that Control Freaks think that making others look incompetent increases people's view of his competence (it doesn't, of course, but he thinks it does). That is the underlying problem. But your question asks about how you stand up for yourself when you were not at fault. The answer is more complicated, since it requires you to be able to calmly explain your role in the outcome without using defensive or blaming statements.

Try this:
"Wow...that didn't end up like we thought it would, did it? I am sure disappointed, and I can tell that you are too. Can we talk about what went wrong and what we might do differently next time?"

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