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Controlling People

Here are a Few Suggestions on Controlling People as Required

While controlling someone to some extent may be required in organizations, there is absolutely no place for such behavior in a relationship. Here is a take on people who exert control at the workplace or in a relationship.
PsycholoGenie Staff
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
Those who advocate equal rights may not believe in the practice of controlling people. By it, I don't refer to an autocratic rule. But people in important positions in an organization, need to have this skill! When there is a job to be done and you have been put at the helm, it is expected that you have the required expertise and ability to get it done. In organizations there are teams with set targets.

Freedom of expressing opinion within a team is absolutely desirable but it is the team leader who should have the last say. For this, the team leader should be able to control his team members, not by refusing to listen or accept their suggestions, but by conveying to them that a line to all arguments has to be drawn somewhere.

Control Over People in the Workplace

By controlling people I mean commanding respect. Once you do that, your decisions would be accepted without much debate. However, to be able to command that respect, one has to look and act to deserve it. Here are a few ways that would help you to make people listen and accept your decisions:

Dress For the Part: They say "Don't judge a book by its cover". Nevertheless, we all know that appearance does play an important role in the perception that we form of an individual. Be well dressed, wear a neat appearance, carry yourself well around because subconsciously people relate success and capability with how you look and with that perception comes the power of making people listen to you.

Act the Part: Just falling back on dressing up impressively is not going to work. If you are in a position where you have a number of people working under you, you need to control (read manage) them well. For that you have to act responsibly too. This includes the way you talk, walk and behave with others. We know how much power good orators have over the psyche of their audience. Not that you have to be an orator but talking in a slow, polite and easily comprehensible way would reflect a mind that can think clearly and is sure of what it wants. This is specially true of people who are in positions of power. If such people stop and talk with those who are a lower position than them, then they create respect for themselves that wipes out the need for control!

Play the Part: You have dressed for the part and acted it out well. Now is the turn to play it. Show to those around that you are worthy of the respect that your looks and your behavior reflect. Prove that you deserve the responsibility that has been given to you. Stand up for challenges. Take risks. Be there to own up failures. It's all about leading by example. Remember that controlling anyone is more psychological that physical. It should be without use of force or any means of coercion. Once you are able to make your way into the psyche of people, controlling them would seem more automated than involving any active or vehement measures.

Characteristics of Controlling

This was about controlling people in the positive way. However, there are people who want to control those around them by instilling fear in them. Such people misuse their power and position. There are still some others who try to manipulate obedience by inciting a sense of guilt in others. These are unhealthy ways of establishing control. Such behavior tantamounts to oppression, which sooner or later is going to backfire. Such people have inherent control characteristics. Such traits are:
  • Complete lack of empathy towards the feelings of others
  • Refusing to take a 'no' for an answer
  • Not open to suggestions
  • Too result oriented
These are some of the commonly observed traits. However, in case of relationships, some people display added characteristics like extreme jealousy, forced intimacy, and abusing one's partner in public.

Controlling People in Relationships

Well, personally I think that there should be no forceful control over thoughts and opinions. Nevertheless, a need to rein in constant argument in workplace has already been discussed. However, the scenario in workplace and one's life are starkly different. If you talk about control in a relationship, I think there is no place for it when it comes to dealing with one's family and friends. Relationships are not about profit or loss nor are they bound by the strains of time. Then how does the question of controlling a person in a relationship arise? In a relationship, individuals should be able to freely express and exchange opinions as this would help them to understand each other well. It isn't a one sided affair. Hence, be it emotional, psychological or physical, needs of both the partners should be met. Therefore, it is very important to be able to read signs of a controlling relationship as such relationships do not last and end with much heartache.

Though I justified using control over people in the workplace, it does not mean that one denies chance to his subordinates to voice their opinion. It may work to some extent. However, curbing one's view constantly, however minor a role he might be playing in the team, is not good for any organization. People might accept such high handed behavior for some time but it would definitely lead to the crumbling of the team in the long run. Individuals with characteristics of a controlling personality can be harmful not only to a relationship but also for an organization.