How to Deal with Control Freaks

How to deal with co-workers who give too much helpful advice.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #85

Today's topic is how to deal with co-workers who give too much advice.

Spike wrote in:

How do you deal with co-workers who are, shall we say, enthusiastic with their advice? My coworker is competent and nice, but if she has her way, I’ll be her personal assistant before long. I need her on my side, but this could get out of hand fast. I’m looking for advice dealing with co-worker relations specifically.

Thanks for writing, Spike. I loved you on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’m glad you listened to the episode on saying “No,” because no matter what else you do, saying “No” will be a big part of dealing with this control freak.

Stay calm! It sounds like you’re afraid rejecting her advice will upset her, and she’ll come after you with rubber gloves, a chainsaw, and a snack size Ziploc baggie for your remains. If the threat of her anger can’t get you to knuckle down and become her administrative love-slave, you getting angry won’t solve things, either.

Understand Her Motivation

When someone does stuff that bugs us, we usually have a theory about their motives. The closer we are to someone, the more our theories resemble a horror film. When a complete stranger suggests we wash our hands after handling raw chicken, we think, “How nice, they are concerned about our health.” When our shmoopy-woopy suggests we change our shirt before a nice evening out, we think, “That evil Satan-spawn is just trying to assert their power, destroy my humanity, and force me to subjugate myself to their will. Forever. hiss


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.