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How to deal with power trippers in the work place

Updated on January 2, 2010

Power struggle issues

Power trippers! They can be very difficult to reason with, totally annoying, self centered, WRONG, and usually single minded. How do you communicate with these people? With tact.

Someone who deals with power struggle issues is some whom feels a need to control others, the purpose of ones controlling behaviour will usually be due to one of two things. A. The person will either be someone whom is actually rather insecure and likes to control others to give them a sense of control over themselves or their own lives. B. The person will be someone who's got a mean streak and just doesn't see why people don't see things their way, seeing as their always right.

In the case of type A in the work place, this person is likely to be an employee and may have a tendency to suck up to the boss.

When such a person is throwing their weight around at work when they don't have any more authority than yourself, it's probably wise to take no notice of this person. Upon ignoring this person when they are on a dishing up orders rampage, they are likely to become quite annoyed with you, be prepared. For you to ignore this persons directions, it's best to have a logic reason why you disagree that you can easily explain. When the person with the power struggle problem enquires why you are not cooperating, answer them 'Because i disagree with the idea.' Providing that you are both employees on an equal level and the nature of the work doesn't involve a lot of team work, then that's all you need to say. In most cases it's best to keep communication with the power tripper brief and direct, so as not to entice a situation where they are screaming in your face with frustration. Arguments with such a person should be avoided at all costs as these people have a tendency to also have anger management issues when others oppose their ideas.

If a power tripper demands an explanation from you upon disagreement, pose your idea to the person backed up by why your idea makes more sense than theirs. If your idea is really better, then this person might just agree with you, if it's not and your really just sick of them telling you what to do, then you will probably just anger them further. If you do manage to unintentionally anger this person a bit much for your liking, perhaps it's best to walk away and resort to avoiding them all together. There is little sense in attempting to argue with this person because they could probably go on forever if you gave them half the chance.

If you don't have the best sort of social skills, you could try talking to your boss about this person. Be careful about taking this approach though. In doing so, make it clear that the reason you are discussing this person is not because of any personal issues, it's because this persons ideas and controlling behaviour are causing friction between staff, or the persons ideas are clearly not very good ones.

In the case of type B this person is usually someone who has one hell of an ego perhaps due to their position of authority. In most cases this type of person will be a boss or someone on a higher ranking level than you. If this is the case then it's probably wise to do as they say more often than not. Unless of course this person is clearly wrong and your not the only one who can see that as black and blue as it is. Considering such a situation, you should be inclined to gently mention your much better idea to the power tripper and get someone whom agrees with you to pipe up and suggest why your way is more efficient. Bringing the bigger guns back down to earth will generally take some convincing, but with a bit of convincing such a person is likely to be intelligent enough to acknowledge an idea that is in fact better than their own. So fundamentally the best if not the only way to approach this type of person, is in a`majority rules type manner, which involves approaching this person with at least one other person by your side for support.

If you don't have the guts to deal with power tripper type B, then you have two options. 1. Learn to tolerate the person and don't let them get to you. Do as they say and learn to live with it. 2. Find a new job.

If you decide to find a new job and you leave your last job feeling that you were treated with disrespect or unfairly, i would recommend reporting the person to work rights justice people or making a formal complaint about the individual to the company. Doing this may result in the individual in question learning a lesson or two so then perhaps this person will learn how they should treat people in future.


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