It’s challenging for compulsive managers to identify with feelings (their own or others’) and step outside their own perspective, but they can, and do. One effective approach involves training that focuses on relating to people.

When compulsive managers learn to value and accept the power of engagement, they are better able to master the relational aspects of working with others. Accepting the notion that their success depends on other people proves to be a great epiphany. Ultimately, the goal in coaching is to reverse their priorities: away from their own success and toward their staff’s. If their people do well, their professional success follows.

Compulsive managers who recognize that all co-workers are valuable resources who make the organization function optimally (and aren’t simply tools to be used to achieve desired results) have taken a step toward healthier behavior. Failure to treat all co-workers with respect and appreciation drastically diminishes their value as resources.

Other key steps can help managers reduce their compulsive tendencies and reconsider their values:

  1. Assess what constitutes real self-worth. Is it what you can gain for yourself, or is there more value in making a lasting contribution by developing others?
  2. Get in touch with your emotions and become more self-aware to enhance your leadership impact on others and the world around you.
  3. Accept people and their traits. Learn to work on a more relational level, appreciating what they offer rather than fighting it.
  4. Embrace failure and learn from it. Failure can offer the best lessons for future success. It’s not nearly as fatal as you once believed. It’s normal.
  5. Step back and make note of the responses you see when you enact the previous steps. You are strengthening your workplace culture.

Compulsive managers need a new frame of reference. Benefiting oneself is a narrow, less meaningful purpose than the good one can do with and through others. Managers who derive fulfillment solely from feeling good about themselves enjoy only temporary benefits. Building a legacy holds greater meaning.

Counsel for those who Work for a Compulsive Manager

Compulsiveness is a tough trait to manage. It takes a special awareness and understanding to work with a compulsive manager. Staff can start by recognizing the compulsive personality’s fundamental traits.

Addressing a compulsive managers’s needs requires people to give their best (the appropriate goal, regardless of leadership type). Every reasonable effort should be made to complete assignments on time. Accountability is critical. Compulsive managers (and leaders) greatly appreciate employees who own up to mistakes and offer solutions to correct them.

Wasting time and/or slowing down a compulsive manager won’t help. Delivering needed information succinctly is important, as is alerting them early to any potential trouble. The aim is to find ways, in matters great and small, to help managers succeed.

Compulsive managers should not be pressed for a personal relationship, but reciprocating is a good idea if they make the first gesture. It’s wise to tread carefully and assess how personal the relationship should get. Managers will respond to respect and appreciation, that doesn’t veer into sycophancy or manipulation.

As managers work past their compulsive tendencies, tensions will ease and spirits will lift. Giving managers positive feedback and thanks will enhance the transition even further.

What do you think? Would you like to discuss the unique challenges of a compulsive manager? I’d love to hear from you. You can call me at 561-582-6060; let’s talk. And as always, I can be reached here or on LinkedIn.

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