Occasionally there are team members who aggressively dominate discussions as a normal part of their behavior. These people appear strong, domineering, and usually angry. The underlying driver of this behavior is not always evident, but can stem from various causes.
Most of us in the workplace are not psychologists, and it is not our role to diagnose. However, it is our role to identify factors that impede the team's performance and development, and
dominator behavior is demeaning and stifling and needs to be addressed.
First, have someone talk with the dominator privately. This should ideally be someone who has rapport with the dominator. Explain the behaviors associated with domination (such as excessive talking, demeaning gestures, condescending remarks, and such) so that the person has a clear picture of what domination looks like. Then describe the effect it is having on the team. If the team has a
Code of Conduct
that addresses this kind of behavior, remind the dominator and ask for compliance.
Second, if this approach does not improve the behavior, have the team set aside time in a meeting to discuss it and why it is hurting team performance and morale.
The dominator must be made to understand the impact of his or her behavior. Once again, a Code of Conduct plays a valuable role in defining how team members will work together and can be a powerful tool to affect this kind of behavior.
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