Chances are you have dealt with a bossy, overpowering person in your life, either at work, at school or even at home. Bossy, overpowering types have strong personalities, and they often demand control of any given situation. This can be quite frustrating and difficult when you're trying to get something done. There are a few things you can try to help deal with a bossy person, and, at the same time, keep stress and anger at bay.
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Understand where the bossy person is coming from. Put yourself in that person's shoes and ask why he or she may be overreacting. Keep in mind that first impressions may be incorrect. This person may be having a frustrating day or taking out stress or insecurities on you. If you think this is the case, it would be helpful to talk to this person, one on one. To begin a conversation, simply ask how his or her day is going. If the person seems angry, remember not to take it personally.
Earn the bossy person's trust. A bossy or overpowering person may be overcompensating for insecurities or feel the need to stand out. Take some time out of your day to try to be friendly; you could invite the person out for lunch. Persistence is also key; the kind gesture of trying to create a friendship will help break down "bossy" barriers. In addition, try focusing on positive elements that you have in common.
Use fact-based dialogue. Many overpowering people have very strong opinions and beliefs. By using facts, data and documents, you can avoid arguing about these subjective opinions, which can lead to a heated and unprofessional discussion about personal differences.
Stand firm if the bossy person persists in a way that you makes you uncomfortable or unable to do your work. If you are being bullied by a bossy person, take a stand and confront this person appropriately. Even if the bossy person becomes unreasonable, avoid getting too emotional and remain professional. Using assertive language, simply repeat your main points. Be aware of the tone of your voice and stay calm and collected. If you are too upset, take a break and walk around the block or drink a glass of water. To collect your thoughts, it may help to write down a draft of what you plan to say.
Speak to the person face to face. Face to face conversation is more intimate and helps foster understanding. E-mail, online chatting and text messaging create ambiguity and varying tones, which don't allow for clarification. When confronting a bossy person, choose a neutral environment, in a cafeteria or outside of work. This breaks down pressure created due to hierarchies. If speaking face to face is difficult, consider finding a mediator to foster the conversation in a fair and civilised manner.
Be patient. If you have already spoken to the bossy person about his or her attitude, keep in mind that it will take some time for this person to change reactions and reverse his or her defence mechanisms. Remember to always act professional, even if a bossy person is going over the line. Taking a step back and having patience will allow you to react to the situation in a firm, but considerate manner.
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