Working with a domineering employee as an introvert leader

Working with people who find themselves completely different from us has large advantages. Variety of thought, views, and approaches is integral to efficiently fixing issues, innovating, and studying. Nonetheless, the method may be stuffed with small challenges. Loads of us have labored with somebody whose type presents a problem—like a coworker or supervisor who could frustrate or annoy us or create obstacles to a optimistic working surroundings.

One of many questions folks ask is how greatest to deal with an employee who’s forceful, domineering, or overbearing, particularly for a leader who’s extra introverted. Initially, you could be intimidated by the prospect of navigating such a relationship, however you possibly can foster a wholesome dynamic by specializing in three areas: mindset, mechanics, and mettle.

Table of Contents


The mindset

For those who’ve participated in a workshop in the previous few years, you will have run throughout occasions titled, “The right way to Deal with Tough Folks” or “The right way to Work With Folks Who Drive You Loopy.” These tutorials providing fast fixes are sometimes approaching the issue with the unsuitable lens. Framing folks as “troublesome” or “annoying” units up pointless boundaries from the beginning.

Keep away from labels. The primary solution to work successfully with an employee who may be perceived as “dominating,” “domineering,” or “troublesome” is to keep away from labeling them or judging them negatively. It’s pure for folks to leap to conclusions when dealing with individuals who reply oddly or in an overbearing method. We subconsciously put folks into classes.

However holding ourselves again from these labels is an vital device in getting alongside and dealing collectively successfully. Labels assume a judgment. As an illustration, take into account how the adjective dominating has a unfavorable connotation—in contrast with referring to somebody utilizing phrases like influential or commanding, which have far more optimistic associations. Verify your self and your assumptions based mostly on the labels you’re assigning, and keep away from labeling altogether. Focus as a substitute on the work to get finished and the behaviors essential to do it. As an alternative of pondering you’re working with somebody overbearing, simply consider working with Bob or Joe, for instance.

Assume good intentions. Typically, working with people who find themselves actually completely different can convey up assumptions about their motives. For instance, working with somebody who’s forceful could trigger you to conclude they’re simply attempting to get forward or experience roughshod over your concepts. However our conclusions about folks’s intentions are often unsuitable, so in an effort to get alongside nicely collectively, it’s far more efficient to begin with optimistic assumptions. As people, now we have an intuition to reciprocate—to return in form the therapy we obtain. By assuming goodwill on the a part of a tougher employee, you’ll are likely to drive a extra optimistic method by yourself half, which in flip will are likely to arrange their optimistic response—a reinforcing cycle.

Concentrate on the work and align round objectives. One other nice solution to work with a type that’s completely different from your individual is to deal with the work and customary objectives you share. You don’t should be greatest associates with folks at work, and also you don’t have to agree with their approaches in an effort to respect them as folks and work collectively successfully. Remind your self and your employee of the general objective of your work, the objectives of your venture, and the accountabilities you share. Retaining the deal with the work somewhat than the particular person will contribute to constructive outcomes.

The mechanics

In fact, as a leader you’ll need to make sure you do all you possibly can to create the circumstances for all your workers—together with a staff member who is particularly decided—to be engaged and acting at their greatest. Listed here are a few methods to take action.

Faucet their strengths. Contemplate the distinctive skills your employee brings to the desk and faucet into these. For instance, maybe they’ve a lot of vitality to steer a venture, or possibly they’ve thought deeply about a downside and might present a complete overview of the problem that paves the best way for an progressive resolution. Generally a staff member with an particularly massive character can mentor others, offering the chance for others to study from the best way they persuade or articulate their concepts. Mirror on the worth the staff member brings and be intentional about participating them in ways in which leverage their expertise.


Delegate. Maybe the employee has pure management capabilities. Discover methods to delegate accountability and empower them to spearhead a key initiative. Is there a high-priority enterprise you could deal with? Possibly this staff member can step in and contribute to organizing it, marshaling different staff members, or managing it inside the context of your general management. Appreciating and empowering your staff member may be good for getting the work finished and for guaranteeing the staff member’s vitality is channeled in the precise instructions.

Give suggestions. In fact, nice management should at all times embody giving folks suggestions and holding them accountable. All of us need to matter and make a distinction—it’s our human intuition. So as a leader, be sure you hold strains of communication open with all your workers and usually present details about how their efforts are working, and about their influence. Generally folks have blind spots, so that you may be particularly useful by asking folks what their objectives are and giving suggestions about how their conduct is transferring them towards—or away from—the influence they need to have. Accountability can also be a optimistic ingredient of management. Let folks know what’s working nicely and fewer nicely by way of their contribution and the way they are often their only. Be certain you’re targeted on efficiency, somewhat than simply type. If somebody is working successfully with the staff and their duties—even when they’re extra forceful or strong-willed—that’s trigger for celebration. Then again, if their behaviors are getting in the best way of working successfully, that’s one thing you’ll want to deal with in an effort to have interaction them in bettering.

The mettle (or confidence)

One other key ingredient of working nicely with a dominating employee is having your individual confidence as a leader. Simply as we label others, we are able to additionally fall into the lure of labeling ourselves, and introverts can get a unhealthy rap. However anybody may be a nice leader, regardless of their character type.

Reassure your self
Remind your self of your strengths and distinctive skills. There isn’t any one greatest method to something, and whether or not you’re an introvert or an extrovert, you possibly can convey your greatest and make a function your individual. Focus much less on how your type is recognized and extra on what you do nicely, the place you need to enhance, and how one can convey your greatest to your staff and your group.

Be open and clear. Nice leaders overtly share info, guarantee readability amongst staff members, and reveal transparency. These approaches are likely to empower folks as a result of they’ve the knowledge they should take initiative and make good selections. In addition they are likely to foster belief amongst staff members. Exit of your solution to be open in regards to the enterprise, expose concepts you’re engaged on, and invite participation and mutual collaboration on tasks and priorities.

Make your self accessible. One other facet of nice management is being current for folks—sharing the large image, answering questions, and offering teaching and suggestions. That is very true when groups undergo robust occasions (as an illustration, a international pandemic) or when they’re working in a distributed method (like a work-from-home or hybrid format). Whether or not you’re working in particular person or just about, verify in with staff members usually, encourage folks to return to you with points, and ask questions on how one can assist. Such a conduct demonstrates you care and can have interaction those that work with you.

As a leader, stretch your expertise on the helm, particularly in empathizing and understanding alternate views. Spend money on attending to know your staff members and leveraging their greatest expertise in order that your organization has a constructive and empowering tradition.

Tracy Brower, PhD, is a sociologist targeted on work-life, happiness, and success. She works for Steelcase. She is the creator of two books, The Secrets to Happiness at Work and Convey Work to Life by Bringing Life to Work.