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How to Deal with Control Freaks

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

By
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

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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.