Step into the shoes of objectionable people

Let’s look at this in the terms of someone who is either disagreeing with you, disagreeable, or controlling. By standing back (away from the coal face) and appreciating why they behave or react the way they do, you’ll gain valuable insights into what makes them tick, why they behave like they do, and maybe (just maybe) see an alternative view of them. And this new view may be slightly more accepting, understanding and manageable for you.

By fully appreciating someone’s intentions, you can then understand that they’re not just out to annoy you.

What the hell…?

When you have to deal with someone who wants to force their opinion into every single project you’re working on, it can be tough to see them as anything more than interfering and obnoxious. However, by recognizing the positive intentions of this person’s input, working with them may get a little easier.

Let’s face it – most people don’t behave this way purposely and quite probably don’t set out to annoy you or to make your life harder. Instead, they’re just incredibly passionate about the work they do and want to help you make things the best they can be. These people typically make great employees, but not the greatest colleagues. It’s our job (not there’s) to ensure we understand their true intentions, appreciate their help, support and guidance, and use it (or not) to make our output and delivery the best it can be.

Of course, while it’s great to recognize and appreciate a control freak’s enthusiasm and drive, that doesn’t mean they get to dictate what you do, or even influence any part of your project. But, if you make the effort to accept that their intentions are good, it will make things easier for you.

Hit them with questions

Take a look around you. When someone is pushy, controlling and questioning – does anybody ever say anything? Or, do they simple listen, walk away, and mutter expleatives to themselves (and others)?

I can comfortably bet, that if one individual is firing out orders, very few people will make an attempt to respond to their demands. So, stop the muttering under your breath and engage in a thoughtful and considered conversation about what they’re actually saying. Ask them questions, hit them with your thoughts, baffle them with reason and logic. Chances are they haven’t even considered your opinion, hard work and thought processes.

Questions will always throw a control freak, especially if they’re use to never being asked any! By you being more forward and assertive, you create an element of surprise – and they won’t be expecting that. Always explain your reasoning, always acknowledge their input, always provide honest feedback on their view of things. Remember, you don’t have to ‘do’ anything they say (unless they’re your boss), and they may actually come up with something useful that could improve or speed up the delivery of what you’re working on.

If you do incorporate a few pieces of their input – tell them, and let them peacock around the office – it won’t last long, I promise!

Be heard

When someone thinks that their methods and approach are better than everyone else’s, it can be extremely difficult to get your point across. But you need to be heard, and you’re entitled to maintain your way of thinking, methods of working and vision. So, if you disagree with what’s being put in front of you and how you’re being given feedback and direction, don’t hesitate to speak up.

Now, some rules! If the person you’re dealing with is a co-worker/colleague, and on the same level as you, you’ll probably have an easier time speaking up. Try to explain why you chose your way of working – but, don’t feel it necessary to justify every single choice you have made. You want to try and avoid opening up ‘everything’ for discussion or opinion. Just stick with the areas that they are judging or passing comment on.

If the person you’re dealing with is your boss, then things will most likely be a little trickier – this is where diplomacy comes to play.

With a little Upward Management, validating your ideas and methods, accepting their feedback, and responding positively to their suggestions, they will find it harder to make demands and disagree. They may always have the final say, but next time, they’ll hopefully remember that ‘you know what you’re doing‘! However, your boss does ultimately has the final say and you might just have to just suck it up and change things based on their ideas and instructions. That’s life unfortunately.

Bite your tongue

Photo by Girl with red hat on Unsplash

Dealing with a disagreable, opinionated and controlling person can get really, really frustrating, annoying and stressful. Sometimes, they wind you up to such a frenzy that any reasonable, considered conversation is impossible.

If this is how things are going – avoid getting into a confrontation or argument. If it seems things are heading in that direction, walk away. There’s no point shouting at eachother – that’s taking 10 steps back, when you’ve only just taken one forward.

Getting nowhere fast

If conversations, patience and understanding isn’t get you anywhere, it’s time to call in some help. This could be another colleague working on the project, a manager or someone who is a good mediator. It sounds a little overboard, but if you feel you’re not being listened to after you’ve made the effort (maybe more than once) to explain and highlight your reasons for your way of thinking, mediation is an option – but consider this as the last resort option; especially if you decide to choose a senior manager, or even get HR involved in mediation.

Good luck. Stay calm. And don’t always think they’re out to get you – it’s just the way they are! And thank God you’re not like them. Right?

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