The Compulsive Leader Mindset

Self-ManagementThere are unique challenges when working for a leader with a compulsive mindset. I’ve been doing some reading and writing about this in my recent posts. Understanding the compulsive leader mindset—their perspectives and motivations—can go a long way toward healthier behavior.

I’ve seen this in my coaching practice: compulsive leaders believe only hard work and achieving their goals will bring them the rewards of power, influence, possessions and recognition. In their minds, this reward system is the only means of personal fulfillment. To compulsive leaders, what they do is who they are. Their principal purpose is to meet their goals, accomplish their tasks and win. From their perspective, their degree of excellence in realizing these priorities determines their self-worth.

To ensure none of their efforts go unnoticed, compulsive leaders 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. Keeping all the plates spinning is worth the potential payoff.

The ultimate goal is a spotless record. Anything that could potentially lead to failure must be avoided. But if the unthinkable happens, failures are downplayed or denied. Compulsive leaders adopt a can-do attitude to bolster a confidence level that drives them to press on.

Emotions, they believe, get in the way and slow things down. Controlling their feelings isn’t as easy as controlling tasks, so they’ll do their best to ignore them. Keeping things superficial—tasks, duties, goals and appearances—is more manageable. Compulsive leaders are out of touch with their inner selves and have a poor grasp of who they really are outside their professional roles.

In the same vein, 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? What other challenges does a compulsive leader present? I’d love to hear from you. Give me a call, 704-827-4474. Or, you can reach me here and on LinkedIn.

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