Last Updated Oct 14, 2011 11:38 AM EDT
And you know what? Controlling people dislike being controlled even more than most people do. How's that for irony?
I was just reading about the 18 Most Hated Companies in America according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. I wasn't at all surprised to see that all of them are service companies like Comcast, Delta, Bank of America, and PG&E.
While they're not all monopolies, like utility companies, each one has monopolistic aspects. In other words, choice is limited, it's difficult and painful for consumers to switch, and that's precisely why customer service isn't the company's highest priority.
Well, guess what? People don't like that one bit. Not when the company in question has control over their electricity, finances, travel, or cable service.
It's the same thing with bosses. Bosses sort of have a monopoly on your life at work. That's a lot of control. Consequently, it's a really big deal. It sort of puts them in the roll of authority figure. Most of you get how that works. Still, when you're mistreated, it's frustrating to feel powerless, as if you can't do anything about it.
But for some of you, being mistreated, or even just not getting what you think you deserve, brings you back to a time when you were little, helpless, not in control, and for whatever reason, you didn't feel very safe. It was traumatic. For you, being controlled - even as an adult - is still sort of traumatic. For you, it's even harder than for the rest of us.
But make no mistake. Nobody likes it. It's just that most of us can behave like adults when it happens. And yet, some of us can't. And, this is probably going to surprise you, but those who can't behave like mature adults when they're being controlled, are the most controlling people of all because they really can't abide giving up control.
Which explains why controlling people dislike being controlled even more than everyone else does. It explains why they're the whiners who complain the most, and behave in the most irrational and destructive ways, when they're being controlled. And that closes the loop on that little bit of irony.
So, when you inevitably find yourself in a situation where you feel you're being controlled, manipulated, or taken advantage of, remember these four things:
The level of maturity with which you handle the situation says a lot about you.
Even in cases where you literally are stuck and have no choice in the matter, getting angry and acting out is tantamount to throwing a temper tantrum because mommy and daddy won't let you have your way.
In most cases, you have choices. You can learn from the experience and move on. You can choose a different service provider, bank, or carrier. You can quit and find a job elsewhere. Yes, I know that's not a slam-dunk these days, all the more reason to behave like an adult instead of doing something stupid and making things worse for yourself.
Just keep in mind, if you can't be mature about it, then you're no better than the controlling boss or monopolistic company you're all pissed off about. You're probably just as controlling as they are. And that's something to think about.
Steve Tobak on Twitter or Facebook