Chances are, you've experienced a coworker who can't resist the urge to tell you how to do your job. Micromanagement is bad enough when it comes from a manager, but it's even worse coming from a peer. A bossy coworker can make life in the workplace frustrating and even difficult.
Controlling, bossy people are annoying and frustrating, but with the right mindset and the right attitude you can deal with them effectively. Here are some techniques that can help:
It can be frustrating and upsetting to be told what to do or have someone take over for you. But it's important that you stay in control of your temper. Bossy people thrive on getting a strong reaction that allows them to be a victim: "I was only trying to help, and they came after me like I'd done something wrong!"
To manage your bossy colleague you're going to have to say something direct and assertive. Take a calm, professional tone and keep your discussion short and succinct. Avoid making a scene and make sure you stay calm and respectful. You might want to explain how their behavior is affecting you, avoiding blaming and sticking to "I" statements, and let them know you want it to stop.
Don't take it personally.
Remember that your coworker's behavior is not about you, and don't allow their words or behavior to affect you personally. It's all about them wanting to feel important and in control--you're just the person who happens to be within reach.
Just ignore them.
In some situations--especially if the bad behavior persists despite your best efforts--it may be best to try ignoring it. If you can brush off your coworker's bad behavior and just ignore them, you may derail their strategy. If nothing else, you can at least save your own peace of mind.
Set healthy boundaries.
Be consistent in asserting your own boundaries. Don't react to attempts at bossiness but learn to respond by asserting your boundaries so people know not to cross them.
Seek additional support.
Enlist the help of your supervisor or a human resources manager if your colleague's behavior is interfering with your work. Ask other coworkers who are frustrated with the control freak to support you if your manager resists taking action.
Lead by example.
Faced with a bossy, domineering coworker--or any difficult person in any area of your life--be the change you wish to see. Model the way you would want to be treated; always speak politely and act with respect.
A bossy, difficult coworker is an unpleasant addition to any workplace. But if you can manage them with calm, firm resistance, in a way of learning patience, and feeling yourself compassion towards them, you can minimize the frustration.