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Does the “My Way or the High Way" Approach Work for Business Partners?

Most people refer to controlling behavior as negative. It can definitely be. But believe it or not, the traits that make a person controlling often are highly desirable, such as being focused, detail oriented, making quick decisions, seeing things clearly, and acting with efficiency. If, however, controlling people neglect to pay attention to the impact their behavior has on others, relationships will begin to deteriorate. Controlling behavior becomes negative and damaging when the controller doesn’t focus some control on their own behavior.

Controlling people want to have things done their way, no matter what and as a result they close off the views, ideas and creativity of others. In a partnership where the relationship is of key importance, one person cannot be in charge all of the time. Unless this is part of the agreement between them (and this is not likely), chances are the partnership will soon be in jeopardy.

Beyond the partnership itself, controlling behavior in general is incongruent with the goals of growth, expansion and creativity. No matter how creative the controlling person is, this type of behavior is constrictive rather than expansive.

Would You Like to Change the Dynamic?

It can be a challenge for controllers to accept options and ambiguity, but in the end, if they can train themselves to accept shades of gray instead of black and white, the world of possibilities expands.

If you are a controlling personality, use your ability to control your own behavior, especially in regards to others. Start by beginning to notice how others, especially your partner(s) experience your behavior and how they feel when you attempt to control. You might even ask them. Take some time to consider everything from the other person’s point of view. It’s called good listening and empathy. It’s a willingness to understand the other and to accept the fact that there is more than one right way to do things. Doing this does not mean you both or all won’t decide to do it your way. It simply brings respect into the relationship, an absolute necessary element for successful partnerships.

Have conversations about this dynamic of control in a matter of fact manner. Stop the conversation if it becomes argumentative and emotional. If it is too difficult to have the discussions hire a coach to facilitate. This minimal investment can go a long way to help your relationship succeed.

More Suggestions:

  • Develop a willingness to try someone else’s ideas. Start with something small.
  • Think of a time when you didn’t get your way and the outcome was okay.
  • Think of a time when you got your way and it didn’t work out that well.