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Respond to a controlling co-worker

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in Workplace Communication,Workplace Conflict

Co-workers who are control freaks can make your job miserable and demoralize the workplace. You can put an end to a control freak’s un­­wanted behavior with this advice:

•  Make sure you aren’t being too sensitive. In some cases, you do need to follow a specific process. Or the person may genuinely be trying to help you by offering advice. Before you proceed, ensure that the person is actually being controlling.

•  Don’t participate in a power struggle. Control freaks tend to try to dictate everything because they want to exert their authority. Stand up for yourself, but only on those high-priority issues that matter the most. Be willing to concede on the small issues.

•  Speak up. When a controlling person offers unsolicited advice or pushes their beliefs on you, say “I really appreciate your feedback/advice, but I prefer to take a different approach.”

•  Refrain from becoming defensive or angry. A controlling person will only push back harder in response. Instead, politely but firmly, explain that you have a process that you will follow and that you prefer not to discuss the matter again.

— Adapted from “How to Deal With a Control Freak,” Judith Orloff, www.drjudithorloff.com.

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