Dealing With Power and Control Junkies?

Are you dealing with power junkies? Control junkies? Emotional and humanity deficient junkies?

Are you dealing with power junkies?  Control junkies? Conflict junkies? Those hell bent on having power over people, being #1 no matter what it takes or who they have to step on?


People are becoming increasingly competitive, impatient and downright angry in the workplace.  As the economy continues to struggle, people are so focused on not being terminated they come to work operating through a cloud of fear, of ‘oneupmanship ‘ not caring who they step on ’cause this for them is survival.  They’ll just deal with the aftermath, well…after.  They don’t consider ramifications or consequences, they just want to be on top no matter what.

Then there are those who aren’t leadership material but if they come out fighting and creating tugs of war all around them then no one will notice (or so they think ) that they really aren’t qualified for or deserve the position they’re in.

These people aren’t tuned into the concept of emotional intelligence or power with people rather than over people.  They can smell the scent of victory the moment you engage with them and enter into a tug of war for position, control, perspective or just because they love an argument and they do love an argument!


How do you deal with these junkies? 

  1. Don’t pick up the rope.  You do whatever it is you have to do to not engage.  The only way someone can start a tug of war is by you picking up the rope.  If you don’t, or let go the moment you fell your hand wrapping around the other end, drop it like a hot potato.  There’s nowhere to go if you don’t engage.  There are always solutions to these issues if you stop and take a moment to reflect on your options and collaborate with someone else who can help you deal with this kind of attack-like behaviour.
  2. Speak to the topic not the person.  Answer with questions that show you are looking at the desired results not the person’s skill set, behaviour or power trip. 
  3. Ask for clarification to see if that individual really meant what he or she said.   Sometimes repeating inappropriate communication shocks the other person into reality.  If nothing else, it will help you clear your head and understand that you weren’t hallucinating when you heard what you heard. 
  4. Lastly, keep it short, sweet and to the point.  The shorter your communication is, the less likely you’re going to fall into their trap. 

Donna Karlin, CEC, Executive and Political Leadership Coach 


About the author

Donna Karlin CEC, Diplomate IABMCP and founder and principal of A Better Perspective® & The School of Shadow Coaching, has pioneered the specialized practice of Shadow Coaching® with global political, government, business and senior organizational leaders in the public and private sectors. Donna capitalizes on almost 30 years of experience in coaching, consulting and training to help clients and their organizations evolve into their level of excellence