Manpower: People are selected and placed in positions that fit their gifts, passions and callings and that align with the church’s objectives and culture

How To Deal With A Control Freak Boss

I have observed that lots of leaders in today’s organizations are “controllers.” They believe they know what is best and so impose an agenda on people and expect compliance. And nowhere is this more prevalent than in church leadership. All of the reasons for this behavior we listed in our last post, What Makes A Control Freak Boss, can be found in spades in the local church. The people I know who have worked for church leaders who are controlling inevitably describe that they dictate, demand, believe they know best, fail to listen, expect compliance, and micromanage. To a person they describe the negative impact of this style of leadership. They tolerate these leaders by putting their head down, shutting up, and avoiding their boss when possible. They don’t enjoy their work and are frequently demoralized to the point that they are just going through the motions. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some tips to consider in dealing with a controlling boss.

Tips For Dealing With A Control Freak Boss

Find out what is driving their behavior. In our last post we described several reasons for controlling behaviors. Are they receiving pressure from their bosses? Are they new to the job? Are there problems at home? Are they fearful of losing their job? Pay close attention and you can usually identify one or more contributing factors. Knowing the reasons behind a boss’s behavior can help you develop ways to deal with it, and at the least make their behavior feel not so personal.

Confront. Sometimes controlling behavior can be simply annoying. When the behavior is mild and not abusive it is best to have to have a frank conversation with your boss. Telling them how you feel, “I feel this when you do that,” is usually better received than saying, “you always to do this.” Confronting is especially effective if the controlling behavior is coming from a boss new to their role or one who is receiving pressure from upper management.

Explain your preferred working style. Acknowledge their working style and how they want things done is not all bad. Empathize with the weight of their responsibilities. Then make it clear that you can’t do your best work with constant micromanagement. Explain why you do things a certain way and share why this makes you more productive and how it benefits the organization. Try to find a middle ground that is satisfactory to both parties.

Regularly share updates on your initiatives. In my experience by far the most effective tactic for dealing with a controlling boss is to take the initiative to regularly share the progress you are making on deliverables. This can be regular face-to-face meetings, emails, or texts. This includes sharing the details of what you have accomplished, what you are working on, and timelines for completion. It might also include anything you need from your boss to do your job. This is the one strategy that controlling bosses agree that allows them to feel more confident about what you are working on and more likely to lead them to give you more autonomy. Other benefits include:

  • Increases trust
  • Makes you appear proactive
  • Highlights your achievements
  • Gives you better annual performance reviews
  • Makes writing up your achievements on annual performance review a lot easier, more accurate, and more comprehensive
  • Reduces confusion, problems and miscommunication

Communicating often and clearly is the secret sauce when dealing with a control freak boss. This takes away most of the fear and insecurity that’s stirring inside them.





Posted on August 23, 2022

Jim Baker

Jim is a Church Organizational Leadership and Management Coach, Consultant and Trainer. Throughout his career Jim has demonstrated a passion for showing Pastors and Ministers how to use organizational tools for church and personal growth and health.

More About Jim

“For I may be absent in body, but I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see how well ordered you are and the strength of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5