New book offers strategies on working with needy people

March 26, 2018 | Features, Research, UToday, Business and Innovation
By Bob Mackowiak

In his latest book, “Needy People: Working Successfully With Control Freaks and Approval-holics,” Dr. Dale Dwyer immediately identifies a work situation everyone encounters.

“We all know them — the control freaks and approval-holics of our organizations and our lives. These are the people who drive us crazy at work,” he said.

The UT professor of management suggests that their annoying behaviors have their roots in high needs for control, approval or both.

“We’ll call the person who most drives you crazy at work ‘Chuck.’ Everybody has a Chuck, and everybody’s Chuck is different,” Dwyer said.

Dwyer notes that we all have a need for control and a need for approval, but it is the extreme cases that cause frustration for leaders, direct reports and co-workers who have to deal with them every day.

Through his consultations with leaders, both new and experienced, Dwyer identified six key challenges for people high in needs for control and approval:

• Lack of emotional control — impatience, anger management, bullying;

• Inability or unwillingness to delegate;

• Lack of communication skills — interpersonal and fear of public speaking;

• Inability or unwillingness to deal with conflict;

• Tendency toward perfectionism; and

• Difficulty in making decisions.

Throughout the book, Dwyer takes readers through an extensive self-analysis process so they can improve on their own ability to better deal with the Chucks in their lives.

“Needy People” offers self-assessment techniques, explores how control and approval needs influence key challenges, discusses the “myth of perfection,” and looks at the ramifications of these challenges on trustworthiness within work relationships, suggesting some ways to address them — including what to do about them if they arise with your “Chuck.”

Dwyer hopes that “readers of the book will learn how to spot the triggers for control and approval so that we can all improve our ability to work with and lead the control freaks and approval-holics of our organizations and our communities.”

“Needy People: Working Successfully With Control Freaks and Approval-holics” is available in print and Kindle versions on, and through Amazon in 12 countries, as well as through Audible and iTunes.

Dwyer joined the UT faculty in 1989 and is a former chair of the Department of Management in the College of Business and Innovation. He received one of the University’s Outstanding Teacher Awards, as well as the first UT Student Impact Award.

He is the author of the top-selling SHRM-published book, “Got a Minute? The 9 Lessons Every HR Professional Must Learn” (2010), as well as “Got A Solution? HR Approaches to 5 Common and Persistent Business Problems” (2014), both with co-author Dr. Sheri A. Caldwell.

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