My workplace is dominated by a loud, opinionated person who keeps interpreting for me what I’m supposed to do. I don’t know what to say without making things worse.
I’m sorry you’ve been dealt this dilemma. Let’s try to make it an opportunity to grow.
Loud, opinionated people in workplaces: may we not be them, may we not know them.
That is, until someone has the guts to say what needs to be said when others won’t, and then we’re glad they’re around. It’s never all bad to work beside bold communicators. You do have to lay down some ground rules to avoid being trampled.
Over 60,000 U.S. employees have completed the comprehensive personality assessment used by GC. We’ve learned a lot about what makes people tick. It may be helpful to consider that this person isn’t necessarily targeting you. Rather, it’s likely he or she is behaving naturally (while suffering reputation and relationship costs) based on genetics and life experiences. The hammer your co-worker carries is coded in DNA and is also a product of his or her experiences. Behavior patterns become habits quickly. Many of us never realize we have old habits we need to break.
Talking with your co-worker or boss isn’t highly likely to change your co-worker’s loudness or strength of convictions. Instead, talk with a goal to influence what affects you most negatively: his/her desire to direct your work. I recommend a one-on-one approach before escalating the issue to management. Stand your ground, diplomatically. Eleanor Roosevelt warned, “When you adopt the standards and values of someone else, you surrender your own integrity and become, to the extent of your surrender, less of a human being.”
Try to catch him/her in the act of bossing you around then speak your truth. If it were me: I want to own my successes and failures. If you tell me how to do my job, I’m not the owner, which is important to me. It prevents burnout and I hope to be on this team for a long time. I’ve got this. You might add: Your heart’s probably in the right place. You’re trying to help, but it’s not working for me.
Perseverance wins when dealing with others’ behaviors. Memorable public speakers repeat their most important points. You’re likely to need to revisit your message to help the co-worker see that you mean business. To make what seems like a communication chore more fun, practice varying the wording, timing, and medium. Update me so I can cheer for you and strategize with you.
When dealing with a “hammer” (assertive, confident, task-driven individual), put some hammer in your style or you’re seen as a wallflower, sidelined by the more outspoken among us.