The Characteristics of Controlling – Things You Should Know

Controlling, though often associated with negative connotations, is a characteristic that can be found in various aspects of life. Whether it’s in relationships, workplaces, or even within ourselves, the traits of being controlling can manifest in different ways. Understanding these characteristics is crucial for both personal growth and maintaining healthy interactions with others.

Controlling individuals often exhibit a strong desire for power and dominance, seeking to manipulate and dictate the actions and decisions of those around them. They may display an excessive need for control, often stemming from deep-seated insecurities or a fear of losing control. Controlling behavior can manifest in various forms, such as micromanagement, possessiveness, and a constant need for validation.

However, it is important to note that not all controlling behavior is inherently negative. In certain situations, a degree of control can be necessary for maintaining order and achieving desired outcomes. Nonetheless, it is crucial to strike a balance between control and autonomy to ensure healthy relationships and personal well-being.

In this article, we will explore the different characteristics of controlling behavior and delve into the potential consequences it can have on individuals and relationships.

💡 Features of a Good Control System:

 Suitable: A good control system should be suitable for the needs and nature of the organisation.

 Simple: A good controlling system should be easy to operate and understand.

 Economical: The cost of setting, implementing, and maintaining a control system should not be more than the benefits gained from it.

 Flexible: A good control system should have the ability to adjust according to the changing business environment and internal conditions. 

Forward Looking: A good control system should move in a forward direction so that the managers can easily determine the deviations before they actually happen in the organisation.

 Objective: The standards of the organisation, its measurement of performance, and corrective actions should be impersonal and objective. 

 Management by exception: A good control system should focus its attention on the significant deviations which are crucial for the organisation, instead of looking for the deviation which does not have much impact on the business.

Importance of controlling in business

Controlling plays a vital role in the success of any business. It involves setting goals, establishing performance standards, monitoring and measuring performance, and taking corrective actions. These actions ensure that the organization stays on track, meets its objectives, and maximizes efficiency. Without effective controlling, businesses may experience chaos, inefficiency, and a lack of accountability.

Setting goals and objectives is the first step in controlling. By clearly defining what the organization aims to achieve, it provides a sense of direction and purpose for all employees. Goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). This enables everyone to work towards a common objective and ensures that efforts are aligned.

Once goals are set, establishing performance standards is crucial. This involves determining the expected level of performance for each task or role within the organization. Performance standards provide a benchmark against which actual performance can be evaluated. They provide clarity and ensure that everyone understands what is expected of them.

Monitoring and measuring performance is an ongoing process in controlling. It involves regularly assessing individual and team performance against the established standards. This can be done through various methods such as performance reviews, key performance indicators (KPIs), and regular feedback sessions. Monitoring performance allows for early identification of issues or areas that require improvement.

Taking corrective actions is an essential aspect of controlling. When performance deviates from the expected standards, it is important to identify the root causes and take appropriate actions to rectify the situation. This may involve providing additional training, coaching, or implementing new strategies. Corrective actions ensure that deviations are addressed promptly, preventing further negative impacts on the organization.

Communication and reporting are also integral to effective controlling. Regular communication channels should be established to provide updates on performance, discuss challenges, and share feedback. Reporting mechanisms enable the organization to track progress, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions. Transparent communication and reporting foster accountability and a culture of continuous improvement.

Challenges in implementing controlling

While controlling is crucial for business success, there can be challenges in its implementation. One common challenge is resistance to control from employees. Some individuals may feel that excessive control restricts their creativity, autonomy, and ability to make decisions. It is important for leaders to strike a balance between control and empowerment, allowing employees to have a certain level of autonomy while still maintaining accountability.

Another challenge is the availability and reliability of data. Controlling relies heavily on accurate and timely information to make informed decisions. Inaccurate or incomplete data can lead to incorrect assessments and ineffective controlling measures. Organizations should invest in robust data collection and management systems to ensure the availability of reliable information.

Additionally, organizational culture can impact the effectiveness of controlling. If the culture promotes a lack of accountability, resistance to change, or a blame-oriented mindset, implementing controlling measures may be challenging. It is important to foster a culture that values transparency, learning, and continuous improvement to support the implementation of controlling practices.

Examples of effective controlling in different industries

Controlling is applicable across various industries and can be seen in different forms. In the manufacturing industry, for example, controlling involves ensuring quality control measures are in place to minimize defects and rework. This may include regular inspections, standardized processes, and continuous training.

In the retail industry, controlling is crucial for inventory management. It involves monitoring stock levels, tracking sales data, and implementing effective replenishment strategies. By maintaining optimal inventory levels, retailers can minimize stockouts and maximize sales.

In the healthcare industry, controlling plays a vital role in patient care. It involves adherence to protocols, monitoring patient outcomes, and implementing evidence-based practices. Controlling measures in healthcare ensure that patients receive consistent and high-quality care, leading to better health outcomes.


Controlling, though often associated with negative connotations, is a characteristic that can manifest in various aspects of life. Understanding the different characteristics of controlling behavior is crucial for personal growth and maintaining healthy interactions with others. In the business context, controlling is essential for goal setting, performance monitoring, and taking corrective actions. While implementing controlling measures may come with challenges, organizations can overcome them by promoting a culture of accountability, investing in data management systems, and empowering employees. Effective controlling practices can be seen across various industries, ensuring quality, efficiency, and optimal outcomes. By striking a balance between control and autonomy, individuals and organizations can thrive and achieve their desired objectives.