Mood Mode - Limiters

by Michael Kelly, MA

As my brother once told me, “I’ll work as hard as my boss lets me.”1 Bosses, or even colleagues, who lead what I call “the clenched life” and who consequently have a tough time “letting” people do their work can be described as Limiters. This is a curious group demonstrating all sorts of cerebral intelligence but little emotional capacity. Their motivations may seem authentic and caring at first, but their limiting features emerge from a genuine fear engendered in control issues. Their intentions derive from getting and taking values. From this all manner of dysfunctional behaviours may surface, such as:

  • expending controlling energies that render us gun-shy about our roles, tasks and jobs,
  • making it difficult to accomplish tasks because of excessive restrictions around what we do,
  • making it difficult to accomplish tasks because of complicated communication networks designed to control rather than flow work, and,
  • playing people by employing aggressive or passive aggressive strategies to control themselves, others and situations.


In the end, performance suffers, lives become stressed, cooperation fails and anxiety abounds. 

Limiters, by the way, also find it difficult to self-identify, so dealing with them is especially tricky.

Remember, we are all Limiters to some extent, some more so than others.

On how best to constructively deal with the serious Limiters in our lives and workplaces, contact



  1. Kevin Kelly
© 2011  Michael C Kelly