The compulsive manager mindset poses unique challenges, but understanding their perspective and motives can help with healthier behavior.

I’ve been doing some reading and writing about this in my recent posts. It’s been my experience in coaching compulsive managers that their principal purpose is to meet their goals, accomplish their tasks and win. This is based on the belief that only hard work and goal achievement will bring the rewards of power, influence, possessions and recognition, which is the only means of personal fulfillment. To compulsive managers, what they do is who they are; their degree of excellence in realizing their priorities determines their self-worth.

You may have seen this in your own organization: to ensure none of their efforts go unnoticed, compulsive managers maintain a highly successful image, which draws the admiration they need to further fill their self-worth tank. The image machine works overtime to match different people’s views of success. They keep all the plates spinning for the potential payoff.

To bolster a confidence level that drives them to press on, they adopt a can-do attitude. If the unthinkable happens—if they fail in some way—it is downplayed or completely denied, as the ultimate goal is a spotless record.

For compulsive managers, emotions get in the way and slow things down. This topic comes up frequently in my coaching practice. Because controlling their feelings isn’t as easy as controlling tasks, they’ll do their best to ignore them. Keeping things superficial—tasks, duties, goals and appearances—is more manageable. Out of touch with their inner selves, compulsive managers have a poor grasp of who they really are outside their professional roles.

Similarly, other people’s feelings are cumbersome and best kept off limits. Following procedures and schedules is all people need to do. Emotions inhibit productivity, so others’ personal needs are a low priority for compulsive leaders. Many of their staff’s personal difficulties go unaddressed and wouldn’t be understood.

What has been your experience working with someone of this mindset? How does understanding their perspective and beliefs help with healthier behavior? 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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