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How to deal with a dominant colleague?

Colleagues that just keep pressing their ideas until you agree with them. They never listen to a word you say and being the true alpha (or so they think) that they are… they play a big role in your team’s atmosphere. In every organisation, but also at home, you’ll be confronted with dominant behaviour. How do you deal with this? Without getting yourself in a conflict straight away?

Dominant people take up space. They enjoy being the centre of the attention. Mostly, they’re focussed on achieving their goal. In the process, they forget that they need to collaborate with other people to get the job done. For people who avoid conflict and place value in a harmonious and warm atmosphere, this is a challenge.

These tips will help you to better deal with dominant people:

1. Speak out

Dominant colleagues will often cross your line. So, in order to improve your collaboration it’s necessary that you are clear what your boundaries are. Tell your colleague what you expect from him/her and what the consequences are if your colleague fails to meet this. Speak from yourself, be concrete and don’t bring up any past differences.

2. Be honest rather than kind

There are tactful ways of calling out a dominant colleague about his/her behaviour. By giving clear and constructive feedback you let others know what effect their behaviour has on you. It’s crystal clear; it makes your communication a lot easier. Moreover, it’s exactly what a dominant person needs and often even wants. Find out here how to provide effective feedback.

3. Keep it short

Dominant people love to keep up the pace. So be as concrete as you can be. Make sure you don’t lose your words or point during a meeting. This will also prevent colleagues from interrupting or taking over the conversation. Make a clear proposal and strengthen this with two supportive arguments, that’s it.

4. Don’t let it get to you

Dominant behaviour is not the same as being confident. And it definitely doesn’t always follow knowledge or expertise. Now matter how personal the attack feels, try to brush it off. Have confidence in your own knowledge and intuition and keep tip 1, 2 and 3 in mind.

Would you like to be in the driver’s seat more? Would you like to be more effective in dealing with dominant behaviour of colleagues? During our programme ‘The art of saying no’ we’ll delve in these topics. In one day you learn to tactfully state your boundaries, tell someone what you want and need… and what you expect from the other person.

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