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How do I deal with a supervisor who always thinks she is right and does not listen to others' opinions?

asked Oct 31, 2017
240 PointsSilver
First feel the resistance in you to not feeling heard or to someone else drawing attention to them. Say to yourself "This is my resistance" This is the first step to awareness. Next, remove the word "always" because it trains your brain to not separate out things. (You have your way the other person has their way) There may be times she doesn't "always think she is right". (even though you may not be present during those moments :) )

Get specific. "Last Tuesday during our meeting I noticed I made a suggestion and instead of feeling like I made a contribution I felt dismissed to what you said instead..."

I would recommend talking to your supervisor directly but there is a step I would do before that. First, ask yourself, "who does she remind me of?" then feel into your body and allow yourself to remember in your past (usually early days of life) and see if her manners or way of being remind you of anyone - typically mom or dad.

If you get a yes and identify the person imagine they are in front of you. Then say to them what you really wanted to say back then that you couldn't. Notice if you feel stronger or weaker in your body. If you are using victim or blame language you may feel weaker. Try again if so with responsibility like language. For example, "Dad I notice you interrupt me when I want to share with you" or "I feel angry when I share something and then you ignore what I said and share what I imagine is something you think is even better. What I want is..." Hope this makes sense. The key is to feel the change in your body.

Our memory systems are powerful. When we resolve past incompletions we no longer have to attract people to give us the lesson again and again. Its how trauma works. It will recapitulate events over and over again until the brain get resolve.

I'll caution you about talking directly to your manager because in the corporate world there is little mercy these days. If you sense they are generally open to feedback then do it. Use language that is specific and non-blaming. (If you are making them wrong then their defensive maneuvers will kick in and you may not be able to get your needs met.)

If they are hostile then be sensitive to your wellbeing.

All the best to you.
Nov 10, 2017
+2 Votes
300 PointsSilver
People who tend to dig in their heels to show they are right often do so because they fear being wrong.  And most people associate shame with being wrong.  When people turn defensive - especially in a work environment when they feel they are losing ground - their brain kicks into 'fight or flight' gear and the brain is flooded with adrenaline and dopamine, which make you feel good, dominant, even invincible.  When this happens, the desire to 'be right' again begins an ugly pattern.

To complicate matters, with a focus on 'being right' he or she is unable to regulate emotions or handle gaps between expectations and reality.  More so, once in this gear, other parts of the brain (such as those where logic and reasoning exist) are flooded with fight hormones and become inefficient.

Tell-Yell-Sell kicks in.  People tend to get louder and more animated as they strive to prove their point.

When a supervisor who always thinks she is right takes over a meeting, they become unaware of the people around them.  

The best resolution:  

A good facilitator comes in handy here, such as a coach or mentor, to keep fears at bay and lead the discussion into an honest and productive conversation.  Think of it this way, can you image a boxing fight without a referee?  It'd be total chaos.

In the meantime, here are 4 things you can do:

1.  Keep the focus on the issues not personalities, bringing the conversation back to the issue when it creeps away from why you are in the room.

2.  Foster contribution by asking others directly what their point of view is.

3.  Ask lots of open ended questions, ones you and/or the group ideally doesn't know the answer to, to open up new thinking and ideas.

4.  Be empathetic.  It's not about you.  Understand that this stance is coming from somewhere deeper in this person that you might be willing to first see.   What might a person you write off as 'egotistical' might really be a person in need of mentoring herself to ease fears of being seen as wrong.

To YOUR Success,
Nikki Ellison
Nov 11, 2017
0 Votes