Controlling employees often want more power in the workplace than they have been granted. They try to control the actions of colleagues and often argue with their supervisors over tasks and policies. These behaviors are usually the result of an employee's insecurities, but they can have a negative effect on others and can even impact productivity and efficiency. Knowing the weaknesses of your controlling employee can help you to coach her, lessen the negative impact of her actions in the office, and concentrate on improving her attitude and performance.
Many employees who are controlling simply want to be recognized for the work they do, though they take this need for recognition to an extreme. Even if you congratulate and reward a controlling employee for a job well done, this might not be enough. Her ambition might cause her to want to do more than what her position calls for, and to try and set herself apart from her colleagues. This can lead her to adopt a condescending attitude to her peers and create a tense workplace where employees don't feel comfortable and aren't able to perform at optimum levels.
Narcissism is another common weakness among controlling employees. People who exhibit signs of narcissism in the workplace are unable to consider the needs and comfort levels of their coworkers because they are so focused on their own wants, needs and desire for recognition. The best teams are those that encourage feelings of altruism and camaraderie. Controlling employees are often unable to see what is best for others in the team and therefore unable to see big picture goals.
When employees are controlling, they will challenge everything from regular policies to the orders of their direct supervisors. They only want to see practices they approve of. When they do not approve of something, they might intentionally break or bend the rules to show their disapproval, especially since they lack the power to change the rules legitimately. In some cases, controlling employees will break rules simply to demonstrate their control.
Some controlling employees feel the need to micromanage each and every detail of their lives. These employees might suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. In these cases, they are less concerned with power or recognition than they are with maintaining a sense of comfort or calm. Employees who suffer from this kind of disorder might continually rearrange the items on their desk or become strongly attached to particular schedules or orders in which tasks are completed.
David Nelson has written about business, management and career guidance for companies such as Conjecture Corporation and Valley Direct Media and has worked in management and as a college level writing tutor. He has a Masters degree in writing from the New School Writing Program in New York City.