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How to Control Your Inner Control Freak

If you secretly — or not so secretly — believe no one can do a job as well as you, you’re a control freak. Taking over other people’s assignments when they struggle, have a question, or stray off track is a common symptom. This tendency is destructive to you and to your team — so get a grip before you begin your next big project.

Try these four things.

  1. Share. Outline responsibilities in ways that maximize individual strengths.
  2. Communicate. Meet frequently for updates and to address concerns. Resist the temptation to discard others’ ideas or take over what they’re doing. If a team member is genuinely in trouble, offer guidance but don’t take over.
  3. Assess. If you sincerely feel someone needs you to step in, take a look at what’s really going on. Is it an isolated incident, or an ongoing issue? If you can objectively say that the person needs help, then help — but don’t take over.
  4. Release. A tendency to take over means you’re doing more and more. Take stock of projects or responsibilities you’ve taken over. If 20 percent or more of your total job is working on “takeovers,” you’re on the fast track to burnout. Start reassigning or eliminating–and don’t fill the empty slots with more takeovers.