Different strokes for different folks -How to talk to those who control too much?
  • Stefan Mirkovic
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White business shirt, blue pants, waisted coat, pencil and documents folder. As she pins the blowsy flock of hair, she clasped her glasses. She corrects them, while horizontal wrinkles are lined on the forehead. Everything must be tidy for the start of a new working week. This is Milena, the regional manager of a multinational company. She is doing a very responsible job that requires highly developed organizational skills. Particularly, Milena demands her associates to provide timely and accurate information, that will later be organised into time-structured activities.

Now, when everything is in place, Milena leaves the elevator and decidedly walks to her office. Clean and tidy room with lots of light. Monthly Gantt chart, as well as the annual goals, are on a large whiteboard across the entire wall. The second wall is graced by 37 gratitudes, and beneath is a shelf with plaques and medals. Milena has always been diligent, which is also testified by these awards. She sits at her desk and starts updating received documentation in the registry after she checked everything in detail. She’s frowning. Wrinkles reflect on her forehead again, as well as like when fixing glasses, but more prevalent. One of the subcontractors did not enter all the information in the project documentation. Milena will automatically convene a meeting on this occasion. Information is very important and must be entered. This is strictly defined!
At the meeting, it turned out that errors can be corrected, but not completely. According to Mark, a coworker, the data was simply lost. Milena stresses herself out. She starts to look back at the situation and discuss with her colleagues about the event. Sentences are longer and longer. They contain a lot of unnecessary information. Statements become complex and confusing. She begins to delegate activities for finding lost data, but in a very incomprehensible way. She thinks and acts like any of her team members can’t follow a single line. They just do not understand what she’s saying. “No, nobody has to do it. I’ll. do it myself, “thought Milena. She starts to audit the whole job and overcontrol, even those parts that are well done. Censorious point of view demotivates her colleagues. After a call for finding a mutual solution, she could only hear the sound of silence. Nobody wants to join brainstorming. “Well, they can not even think about it,” she assumes. End of the meeting.

What exactly happened? Why did Milena react like this? Could she have approached the problem differently?

# 1 What’s the problem?

The situation was very stressful for Milena. Some people become very critical affected when they get into stress. Then they comment work of all people and have a need to control more. They demand better organisation, order, and need for information, what we certainly could not see in the situation described above. They often transfer stress to others, which leads to demotivation of employees. Then they decide to dismiss others and finish the job themselves, just as Milena did.

# 2 What is behind this behaviour?

People who characterize these behaviors previously need recognition. They want to hear: “The job is done well! That’s a great idea! “. If not, they begin to critically observe the work of all other people in the environment and criticize their associates for having poorly allocated time. As much as they want, they can not hold all the thread ends in, and influence the work of others.

# 3 A couple of tips that can help you to communicate with people like Milena

• Focus on the facts.
• Never discard information from them. They need to understand why they are doing something to work properly.
• Respect their time: “5 minutes to a deadline” is not a desirable approach because they like to organize everything in advance.
• Encourage and praise them. You can, for example, Say: “You have done a good job!”
• They do not like changes in plans. If they will occur, let them know as soon as possible.