Office Poltiics 101: A domineering employee is intimidating others

Q: There is a woman in our office who practically dominates all our departmental staff meetings, which I chair. She frequently interrupts and employees seem to be intimidated by her overbearing style. I am thinking of speaking with her. Your suggestions?

Q: There is a woman in our office who practically dominates all our departmental staff meetings, which I chair. She frequently interrupts and employees seem to be intimidated by her overbearing style.  I am thinking of speaking with her. Your suggestions?

A: It is unfortunate this employee is making life so unpleasant for others (including you); however, before considering a course of action, ask yourself whether the current situation developed as a result of your inaction.

I would assume her behavior is something you’ve been aware of for some time – it will likely be now more difficult for you to address the situation as she has become accustomed to being aggressive at the meetings.

Nonetheless, you can still salvage the matter and affirm your role as chair.

You have released some of your authority to her which must be assumed at the earliest opportunity.

If you are a male, the situation should be treated with more sensitivity as she may view you as competition for influence to some extent: her domineering manner has essentially been directed at you, so be careful.

If you are a female, caution should also be exercised; however, there won’t be the same potential for gender-related issues.

Here are a few ideas you could think about: Consider rotating the role of chair — if you feel comfortable doing so — and allow all attendees to have their turn.  This would allow her to experience being chair which she may relish.

Rotating the chair would also allow you to sense whether her antagonistic manner is intended for you personally or is a general character trait.

You might also be more systematic in the way in which you organize the agenda with firm times dedicated to each item.  Her lengthy interruptions would obviously conflict with this model which may discourage her.

You could consider a “round table” approach for comments which would give all attendees the opportunity to share.  She may recognize she is dramatically out of sync with co-workers and moderate her disruptions.

In any case, be wary about speaking with her personally.  Her reaction could be unpredictable and she may even become more combative.

Be somewhat more assertive and consider using different techniques to engage attendees – including rotating the role of chair – in order to provide modeling for this very difficult employee.

Simon Gibson is a university professor, marketing executive, corporate writer and civic leader. He is a graduate of four public universities, including Simon Fraser University, where he earned his doctorate in education. He also also holds a degree in journalism (honours) from Carleton University. His email address can be found here.

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Trapped Vancouver Island crash survivor celebrates second chance at life

“Life is good now. It’s good to be alive.”

Habitat for Humanity hands over keys to Campbell River families

Organization will also hold key ceremony for project in Courtenay on Friday

Baby, it’s nasty outside: wind and rain will continue across Vancouver Island

Police warn drivers and pedestrians to use precaution during expected rain and winds

Campbell River to get safer as protective services increases OK’d

Another RCMP officer, better pay for auxiliary firefighters and more manpower at No.2 hall in 2020

Walkway at new boat ramp closed due to storm damage

Newly-constructed walkway fails its first test

VIDEO: ‘I won’t stop’ – local surfer hits the stormy seas of Stories Beach in Campbell River

Surfing community is growing in Campbell River, says Scotty Hewett

Sissons scores OT winner as Predators beat Canucks 4-3

VIDEO: Vancouver battles back to earn single point in Nashville

Lions announce seven members of coaching staff not coming back for 2019

The operational moves come two days after the Lions announced DeVone Claybrooks as the team’s new head coach

VIDEO: Kitten rescued from under school bus in Duncan

School staff have affectionately called kitten “Axle”

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Coach accused of sexual assault says apology letter was misinterpreted

Dave Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of invitation to sexual touching

Give the gift of nature this holiday season

Please don’t be mad, but I bought you a moose

Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

No plans yet for free WiFi on BC Transit buses

BC Transit says they are monitoring the roll-out of free WiFi on Translink vehicles

Most Read