They are real. They are out there. We have worked with them, for them and lead them. For whatever reason provenance has deemed necessary, there will often be that one person in a working environment that no amount of coaching or compassion will breach. These narcissistic jerks cause disruption, anxiety, pressure, and even hostile work environments no matter what others may do to try and alleviate their control issues.

If you have someone in your work arena that fits this description, don’t panic. There are steps you can take to ensure a smoother, though not ideal, working relationship that gets the results you need. It simply is a matter of recognising that not all workmates are created equal, and this one just needs to be handled in a more demanding way. It’s not about YOU, it’s about them, remember this. And only you hold the power over your thoughts and actions.

Be aware of your confidence

One tactic workplace jerks take on to forward their own narcissism is to bully other employees into discrediting their own work. You are the expert in the field and recognise your work has great value and substance, so when the workplace jerk starts knocking it down, realise you have more fruitful avenues for peer review. Seek out those around you who you trust and garner their opinion. Often times you will discover the negative critiques were simply that – negative.

Keep communications open

It is often uncomfortable to discuss just about anything with a demanding jerk in the workplace, but shutting down lines of communication is not the answer. When having to collaborate with such as personality, speak clearly and concisely about your topic. Be aware that a narcissist needs to feel in control, and that they may well try to drive the communication into a light that makes them look better. This is done by introducing red herrings into the conversation – don’t fall prey to dead end roads. Stick to the point at hand and move along.

Watch more here on my Youtube Channel about THE JERK and subscribe to more brilliant videos, tips and inspiration around Leadership, Neuroscience and Mindset!

Don’t just take it

If the office jerk is offensive, bullying, or entering the realm of harassment, you don’t have to take one for the team and excuse the behaviour. Recognise that their actions affect not only your work environment, but also the business image and fluidity as a whole. Report negative behaviour immediately to a supervisor or the human resources leader for resolution, and understand that this has nothing to do with anything you have done. Negative personalities such as the workplace jerk reduce productivity and job satisfaction, and making others aware of the disruption to business will ensure actions are taken immediately to correct the situation.

The Author  – Sonia McDonald

Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’.   She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organisations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn inspire and bring out the best in others.

For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of human resource management. She has held leadership positions around the globe and through experience, research and study come to realise what it takes to be a truly effective leader.

Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognised as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, who puts people at ease and starts important conversations.

She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.

Would you love a coach or speaker at your next event? Contact me or click on the link below.

Check out my NEW Online Courageous Group Coaching too!

Reach out to me today as I would LOVE to hear from you at

Keynote Topics for 2019

Sonia will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”. Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, and humour will enhance any event she appears.

  1. Leadership Attitude
  2. Just Rock It
  3. Leadership for Small Business
  4. Leading the Next Generations
  5. Courageous Leadership
  6. Future Leaders of Leadership
  7. New Kindness of Leadership

Connect with Sonia at:

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

leadership course
leadership course free trial online
leadership course harvard business school
leadership courses for managers
basic leadership course
leadership crash course
online leadership course
leadership courses melbourne
leadership courses sydney
management and leadership course online free trial
leadership skills online course free trial
strategic leadership free online course trial
leadership development programs harvard business school
organizational leadership course
strategic leadership course
leadership training courses for managers
leadership courses for new managers
leadership courses for project managers
leadership courses for middle managers
leadership courses for senior managers
best leadership courses for managers
leadership development program for managers
leadership training program for managers
leadership program for new managers
leadership reaction course events
leadership reaction course manual
leadership reaction course army
leadership reaction course ideas
leadership reaction course answers
leadership reaction course solutions
leadership reaction course ocs
leadership reaction course usmc
basic leadership course requirements
basic leadership course reflective essay
online leadership courses
online leadership courses queensland
online leadership courses free trial
online leadership courses with certificate
online leadership courses for high school students
online leadership courses australia
leadership and management courses online free
leadership training videos online free
free leadership courses online australia
harvard online leadership courses free
free nursing leadership courses online
free online leadership courses for high school students
leadership courses melbourne online
leadership courses melbourne
leadership training melbourne
leadership programs melbourne
womens leadership courses melbourne
womens leadership courses sydney
womens leadership courses brisbane
womens leadership courses adelaide
executive leadership courses melbourne
executive leadership courses sydney
executive leadership courses brisbane
executive leadership courses adelaide
leadership development courses sydney
leadership courses workshops sydney
leadership course sydney
leadership coaching course sydney
leadership course north sydney
leadership and management courses sydney
leadership and management short courses
women in leadership
programs for women
keynote speaker
motivational speaker
emerging leaders
courageous leadership
sonia mcdonald
courses for women
executive coach
leadership coach


  1. Bullying takes many forms; is disruptive to individuals and organisations; and causes physical, psychological and financial harm to all involved. Whilst it may be possible to identify and label various individuals within organisations as ‘jerks’; ‘malcontents’ or even ‘misfits”; there are ‘control freaks’ who may also fit into these categories.

    ‘Control freaks’ may have particular talents or skills when it comes to their role e.g. finance, line manager or some specialised functions within an organisation. In some cases, the environment creates a situation whereby the ‘control freak’ becomes ‘ultra-demanding’ and may even have some misguided belief that they have more control than more senior managers or even the CEO.

    It is not uncommon to find that this type of ‘control freak’ will approach staff over whom they have no supervisory or line management role and demand to have that person down tools and run after them. This type of ‘control freak’ may also make statements such as ‘why wasn’t I consulted’ when they learn that staff are on leave. A ‘control freak’ employed by an organisation may been seen by managers and workers as a ‘jerk’ and a ‘bully’ because they are demanding, lack interpersonal skills, fail to understand their role in terms of staff relationships, and attempt to force their ‘way’ not only onto other workers, but also onto managers and executives.

    Controlling or managing the ‘control freak’ may be difficult if there is a perception that they are good at their job and get results. The difficulty is that the longer they are allowed to be out of control, the more difficult it is to reign in their behaviour. Tracking their behaviour or conduct may be important if discussions are to be held with that person and performance management processes are to be used to assist the person change their behaviour. For example, it may be the case that the ‘control freak’ becomes more demanding when ‘end of month’ reports are due, and when some staff are absent (particularly if that employee has a role in preparing a report).

    It has been my observation that some ‘control freaks’ become real ‘jerks’ when they themselves are under pressure or perceive that they are under pressure (sometimes from their own doing e.g. becoming in areas where they have no decision making function or role).

    For individuals coming under the influence of a ‘control freak’, they do need to report the behaviour or conduct at least to their line manager/supervisor or even the CEO in smaller organisations. Line managers/supervisors need to ensure that the CEO is made aware of the behaviour and conduct.

    Once the CEO becomes aware of the behaviour and if they have a direct line management role in relation to the ‘control freak’, they need to take corrective action so that the ‘control freak’ understands the consequences of their action. Performance management processes should be used to provide the ‘control freak’ with coaching, mentoring, and learning and development so they can learn how to manage their own behaviour. If the ‘control freak’ is not able to or is unwilling to change, they may need to seek alternative employment.

    If an organisation becomes aware of such behaviour or conduct, they cannot afford not to take corrective action. At some point in time, workers and managers may report the behaviour, and in the event that an investigation is conducted, and it can be identified that no action had been taken, it is possible that adverse findings may be made, not only against the organisation, but also against those who had some line responsibility or accountability for setting and maintaining standards of behaviour.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment