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

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

teaser
Dynamic drives and pitiful putting helped even the score

Another Ladies’ Night has come and gone. This season is passing by… Continue reading

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Traffic cop humour

He demands to know what sort of device had been used to measure his speed

(L-r) Cody Lee with six-year-old daughter Paisley, and Joshua Burleigh with his seven-year-old son Noah are extremely thankfull to Heffley Creek residents and First Responders for the help they received after their canoe capsized in rapids on the North Thompson River on Sunday, June 13. (Facebook photo)(L-r) Cody Lee with six-year-old daughter Paisley, and Joshua Burleigh with his seven-year-old son Noah are extremely thankfull to Heffley Creek residents and First Responders for the help they received after their canoe capsized in rapids on the North Thompson River on Sunday, June 13. (Facebook photo)
North Thompson River canoe trip almost ends in disaster

‘Only way I managed to get us to shore was the thought of not letting my boy drown’

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Thompson-Okanagan population grew despite COVID-19: report

The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC said there are 8,462 new residents in the region

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Phil McLachlan/(Black Press Media
Man shot at Kamloops shopping centre

The man is believed to be in stable condition

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

Most Read