Are you too controlling?

Controlling behaviors can often result from perfectionism, but while perfectionism more commonly reflects a person’s desire to control their own actions and products (sometimes to a fault), someone who is controlling is as likely to transfer that compulsion onto the actions and products of others, as well. The perfectionist will take work from someone else and do it themselves to ensure a desired outcome, while the controlling person is likely watch over the other’s shoulder, to micromanage them, and to criticize and redirect processes that vary from their own.

So, in addition to the anxiety and stress that can result from perfectionism, controlling behavior is likely to be met with added conflict and resistance from others who feel they are being unduly controlled – and all of these compounding factors could put an already busy doctor at risk of physician burnout.

  • Do you frequently get stressed and annoyed by the choices of others, and feel compelled to step in and control the situation?
  • If you find yourself pushing others to do things your way without much concern for their perspective, or if you find that people are always pushing back at your “requests,” it may be time to figure out why.
  • Are you concerned that the actions of the people around you will reflect poorly on you?
  • Do you assume that others don’t think things through the way you do and want to help steer them and spare them the bumps in the road?
  • Do you believe you’re just smarter and that others need your direction to get from point A to point B?

Do some soul-searching to figure out whether controlling others really helps them, or whether it actually serves your own needs. Then think about the effects it has on your relationships at home, at work, and at play. Is it worth compromising the respect people have for you or the bonds you have with them in order to spare yourself a few bumps in the road? Have you ever considered that others might see your controlling tendencies as the real bumps in the road?

Most of us will admit that we have enough work on our own plates without worrying about everyone else’s responsibilities, too. If you’ve fallen into the habit of trying to control the people around you, you may eventually become so overwhelmed that you end up burnt out and unable to manage even your own duties well. Don’t risk losing control over your own responsibilities just to micromanage those of others. Instead, accept and appreciate the efforts of others.

> Next: Physician burnout risk No. 8: Exaggerated feelings of responsibility

> Back: At risk of burnout? No. 6: Being a perfectionist

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