To want to scream at my member of staff to SHUT UP!

(41 Posts)
barkinginessex Tue 18-Feb-14 13:37:34

That's it really!
She does not stop talking and she driving me nuts!
She butts in conversations that have nothing to do with her and doesn't add anything useful to them.
Is involved in everyone's business and gets involved in projects and tasks when no one has asked her to which then distracts her from her work.
When I ask her a question I get a long drawn out answer and today when I asked another team member a question she jumped in and answered for him and again the question had nothing to do with her.
She's a lovely lady and obviously I won't tell her to shut up but jeeez why is she like this??

angelos02 Tue 18-Feb-14 13:40:12


I work with someone like this too. She is lovely but can't seem to read my body language in which I am trying to subtly show that I am busy. Eg, fingers hovering over my keyboard while I am waiting for her to finish what she is saying.

FunkyBoldRibena Tue 18-Feb-14 13:46:24

Start managing her [remind her that if it's not part of her performance plan, she doesn't do it/say it]


Each time she butts in/does work she isn't supposed to/talks for 5 mins without taking a breath, bring her in and say 'I see you are not busy enough so can you do this please' and keep giving her new complicated/dull things to do until she learns to shut up or stop butting in/doing things she shouldn't.

nennypops Tue 18-Feb-14 14:45:21

If she's your member of staff, why can't you do something about it? You don't need to tell her to shut up, but surely you can tell her that she needs to talk less, stick to her own work, and not answer questions directed to other people?

TheIncredibleBookEatingManchot Tue 18-Feb-14 15:19:05

I work with someone like that.

When someone asked me a question the other day she started talking over me as I was answering, saying the exact same thing as me but it meant no one could understand what either of us were saying.
She does other people's work, but because she hasn't been trained in those tasks she makes mistakes and leaves things out, so the work has to be undone and started from the beginning again.

She's quite young and doesn't have a lot of work experience and I think she really wants to be seen as keen and helpful and useful.

Wh0dathunkit Tue 18-Feb-14 22:30:02

I have a manager who I truly believe feels this way about me. We've both done those personality tests recently, and we are an extreme version of chalk & cheese. This doesn't help! They want a bullet pointed headline, without nuances when it comes to contributions to conversations, I maintain that if the job was that simple to do / explain, trained monkeys could do it shock

Could it simply be a major clash of personalities? Or are they simply pondering on the significance of the of their cats latest foibles, when the conversation has been centred around why x,y,z project has gone skewiff?

DoJo Wed 19-Feb-14 00:00:15

I agree that if you are in a position where you manage her, you need to start doing it. Explain that it's nice that she is so open and outgoing, but it's affecting her performance and she needs to ensure that she is not impeding anyone else.

If you aren't her manager, then can you talk to whoever is? Just tell them that she is interfering and interrupting other's work and ask them to address it with her.

putthePuffindown Wed 19-Feb-14 00:16:48

Maybe she's interested in taking on more responsibility and this is her way of showing you how keen and observant she is? That's how I would open my next coaching/121 session anyway, try to draw her out with open questions such as 'I've noticed that you... <insert behaviour eg. are very up to speed on John's workload, is this something that you'd like to pursue>' once you better understand what motivates her, then you can generate a more tailored coaching plan for improvement, using the motivator as a reward.

I've always been taught to coach positive behaviours rather than negative, so rather than 'you need to be quieter' it should be 'I'd like you to improve your listening skills' or rather than 'don't answer others questions' it would be 'I'd like you to focus on your colleagues answers more and learn from their experience' if you can show improvement in this area by <insert deadline> then we can look at <insert motivator>

SingMoreWhenYoureWinning Wed 19-Feb-14 00:21:06

An immediate, polite but steely 'Thank you x I 'm dealing with this. I'll catch up with you later' usually does it.

Cut her off mid sentence when she answers for you or someone else.

If she's going to act like a child, manage her like one. She'll get the message.

Joysmum Wed 19-Feb-14 00:24:09

If she buts in, say 'sorry, I hadn't finished speaking'. If she answers for somebody else say 'I was actually speaking to X just then' but do so in private afterwards.

lessonsintightropes Wed 19-Feb-14 01:46:57

What Sing said. I've got a member of staff like this, keen as mustard and potential to be great but needs corners knocking off. Usually someone this insensitive to group dynamics/communication issues is also pretty good at taking constructive feedback given in quite a direct manner and so I'm using this tack with her... i.e.

"Lessonsassistant, when you were in the meeting earlier this morning, I noticed that you spoke for a lot of the time. In x instance, you spoke over vvvv individual whose role it is to deal with this issue, and it's not part of yours. How do you think that might make vvvv feel? How might you deal with this differently in the future?" etc. Seems to be working so far, bolstered by lots of praise when things are done well and people are not offended!

Monty27 Wed 19-Feb-14 01:48:34

Yes, I've got one of those too. grrr. Its exhausting, frustrating and annoying. What to do?

Monty27 Wed 19-Feb-14 01:49:12

Btw, boss thinks this person is wonderful.....

Fluffyears Wed 19-Feb-14 01:54:07

It sounds like she wants to be seen as knowledgable. Is it just the examples you've given or does she sit and talk a lot of drivel? When someone butts in on me (one big-headed colleague does it a lot in my team) I let them finish then either say 'as I was saying...' Quite pointedly or 'oh my god I managed to say all that without moving my lips!' It gets the point across.

fivefourtime Wed 19-Feb-14 04:28:35

"[remind her that if it's not part of her performance plan, she doesn't do it/say it]"

If I worked with someone who told me this I would pour my cup of tea over their head and then quit the job.

fivefourtime Wed 19-Feb-14 04:37:30

Just because I believe it's part of an employee's duty to stray beyond the bounds of the bullet points of their annual personal checklist, and any active attempts to stop that are... really, really demotivating.

My boss knows I'm like that and jokes with me by saying "I know you're itching to get going on this and jump in, but there are certain processes you have to be aware of first, so let's take our time with this and then the end result will be better". Or "I know you want to get involved with everything, but these two projects are the most important ones you're working on right now and you'll get the best results by sticking to those - it might not be a good idea to spread yourself too thin".

I know you weren't literally advocating the idea of someone saying to this person "Now, listen, you, if it's not part of your performance plan, you don't do it or express an opinion about it"... but there's a real risk with that kind of pep talk that an employee will end up demoralised and undervalued.

pluCaChange Wed 19-Feb-14 09:57:28

Sometimes, people just don't want to do the job they've got, particularly if it's a boring job they've taken because there wasn't anything else available or they aren't competent enough to get a more responsible job.

Learning new things at work is great, but the basics have to be covered. Reminding someone of their mundane responsibilities may seem "harsh", but it is, after all, WORK, and it's quite easy for a manager to be pleasant about the "reminder", in the first instance.

As for the interference with other colleagues, a manager could try, "I understand that you want to be a webmaster/ marketing manager/ party planner yourself, but just think how you would feel if you were in X's position and the job you have waited snd trained for starts being interfered with by a keen newbie... If you accept that you would be frustrated, don't do it to X!"

Pendeen Wed 19-Feb-14 10:59:55

"not part of her performance plan..."

What on earth is one of those - do you work in a theatre?

MildDrPepperAddiction Wed 19-Feb-14 11:10:23

If she reports to you it's your job to tackle this.

When she butts in or speaks over people tell her firmly 'I'm speaking to x about this. If you have something to tell me about it you can tell me after'. It sounds like she's very childish.

You need to do something as you have a duty to other staff.

OnIlkleyMoorBahTwat Wed 19-Feb-14 11:16:06

I work with one of those. If I need to ask her something and she is in full flow, usually about one of her DDs who has a waste of space partner, I just give her a few seconds to acknowledge me and if she doesn't, I just say 'Excuse me for butting in, but could I just talk about work for a minute?' grin.

I do not have the time to wait for someone who talks constantly mostly about non work related issues, to stop talking.

tasteslikechicken Wed 19-Feb-14 11:30:51

I think it might be worth considering how you view her. You describe her as on of "MY Members of staff"

She is not your member of staff, she is your colleague though and as such is as entitled to criticism as she is praise.

If you convey that you in some way have ownership of people you work with, even if they do report to you, she may be picking up on your irritation with her and feel "unowned" in comparison to her other colleagues.

I always find it interesting when people describe staff junior to them or who report to them as "my" staff. It says a lot about their self perception and how they view others.

I'd be looking at myself first in this one.

angelos02 Wed 19-Feb-14 11:50:12

I always find it interesting when people describe staff junior to them or who report to them as "my" staff.

yy to this

You don't own the people you work with.

pluCaChange Wed 19-Feb-14 11:55:15

Oh, for pity's sake. Managers being hands-off and not taking "ownership" of a problem is how this shit happens, and then persists, making other people's working lives harder! hmm

pluCaChange Wed 19-Feb-14 11:57:07

Also, if a manager doesn't take it up in a firm-but-fair way, there's a risk that someone else will do it, without being responsible for the approach or result.

tasteslikechicken Wed 19-Feb-14 12:02:14

No suggestion that the manager shouldn't take responsibility for managing the issue. I think it also devalues the work of other colleagues if it is perceived that people can just go around putting their twopenneth worth into any area they choose or that people aren't busy enough and always have time for a chat.
Problem needs sorting and it is the managers job to do so.
None of this detracts from the sense that the manager describes a colleague as a possession.

barkinginessex Wed 19-Feb-14 12:53:51

For example yesterday I asked another team member where a meeting room was as id never used it, he was about to answer but she jumped in, rambled on for a minute about where it was and then said she would take me there. I had to politely but firmly tell her I didn't need to be taken there and that she needed to concentrate on her work. The other team member I had asked would have given me the answer in needed in 10 words! It's so frustrating.

IsitwrongtofancyHarryStyles Wed 19-Feb-14 13:02:51

I sympathise. I have 'talkers' among my staff. They seem to have no sense of when to shut up and when it's ok to have a chat. The latter being when we are not madly on deadline and when the chat is kept to a 2 minute, low decibel affair - not 20 minutes of guffawing and bellowing.

I've had to tell one person to quieten down and get on with their work but yes it's awkward.

They are not busy bodies in the way you describe though. I can't see any other way through this than being blunt and probably re-writing or revisiting their job description/role. I don't think interrupting them or giving them mundane tasks or basically playing games with them as advised above, is a professional response.

Remind them what they are supposed to be doing and what they are not supposed to be doing and explain why - that you are concerned they doing things they're not employed to do or responding to questions that are not about anything within their remit.

nennypops Wed 19-Feb-14 13:27:46

So, barking, why did you not jump in as soon as she started speaking and point out that you were not talking to her?

SarahBumBarer Wed 19-Feb-14 14:36:01

But it's not hard to give constructive feedback that this person needs to be more concise and make points more succinctly. How long has she worked for you? Has she had that feedback? Similary if assigned tasks are being overlooked and she is involving herself with work that she should not be doing this is easy feedback to give and examples can be provided.

So yes - YABU for wanting to scream "shut up" when there is clearly more appropriate action that can be taken.

IsitwrongtofancyHarryStyles Wed 19-Feb-14 15:47:36

Ps can I just point out I never say 'my staff' in RL! I say 'my team' or 'my colleagues' but on MN I sometimes say 'my stafff' for clarity blush

FunkyBoldRibena Wed 19-Feb-14 16:22:34

If I worked with someone who told me this I would pour my cup of tea over their head and then quit the job.

Saves the manager a job then. Result.

What on earth is one of those - do you work in a theatre?

It's a plan that makes sure an employee is performing their job correctly. It's not complicated...for some.

FlockOfTwats Wed 19-Feb-14 16:40:37

"Can you not talk over me/person speaking? It makes it difficult to hear what theyre saying"

Everytime she does it.

pluCaChange Wed 19-Feb-14 22:20:07

Here's a new screensaver for you, barkinginessex! grin

Monty27 Wed 19-Feb-14 22:41:29

Oh I was looking forward to that link plu it's a bit vanilla for me, I wanted it to have Homer Simpson or someone shouting 'shut the fuck up'!

laloue Wed 19-Feb-14 22:42:07

I have an absolutely lovely and very able member of staff exactly like this. Of late we have started asking her "do I / we/ they need to know this?" . It has become a sort of eye contact running joke and she is , slowly , getting the message. She won't change that much, and she doesn't need to really, but it drives some of the team crazy, so it's in her performance plan to learn when to stop talking , and she's working on it. But I would never ask her to stop being herself....even when she drives us crackers. I think you might just need to find a way to tap her enthusiasm...

pluCaChange Wed 19-Feb-14 22:56:14

Sorry, Monty, I thought it best to stay the right side of HR! Would you prefer Queenie's "Mouth is open, Nursie, should be shut." with the talker's face photoshopped in?

Or South Park's "Uncle Fucker" lyrics, rewritten to admonish, "Shut your fucking face, Shoot-Your-Mouth-Off./ You don't know a fucking thing, Shoot-Your-Mouth-Off. / You don't type or file or work your due,/ You just shoot your mouth off all day through!"

Or is that still too vanilla for ya? smile

LegoCaltrops Wed 19-Feb-14 23:05:33

I know it's not professional of her to bring it to work, but could she be lonely? Maybe she doesn't feel listened to elsewhere. I know someone like this.

pluCaChange Wed 19-Feb-14 23:35:16

I hear what you're saying, LegoCaltrops, but surely that's all the more reason for it to be dealt with professionally/managerially (NOT by my South Park screensaver! shock), before an exasperated colleague snaps. I read another thread this evening about just such a denouement: non-smoker needles a smoker for ages (though smoker keeps up with work, works extra, has tried to quit in the past... various mitigating factors) then smoker finslly snaps back eith a personal comment about non-smoker's overweight condition and constant unhealthy eating. Overweight non smoker has fit about this one comment (versus many dished out), and flounces to HR! Various posters did demand to kniw why and how it got to that point. Terrible atmosphere, and proper hurt feelings.

leezl Wed 19-Feb-14 23:41:58

Same here. I actually fantasise about telling them to stfu sad

Monty27 Thu 20-Feb-14 00:19:41

Gwan Plu wink

StrawberryCheese Thu 20-Feb-14 00:27:45

OP, do you work with my mum?? Sounds exactly like her, it does me head in.

She will phone me weekly to catch up and talk over/at me, but for example last time she spent 15 mins telling me a story of how the bin men opened the lids of the recycling boxes when it was windy and so the cereal boxes, milk cartons etc. went everywhere, even reaching the home of Mrs Evans at No. 23, you know the one with the golden retriever that has a heart murmur and how she phoned the council to complain. Apparently the person at the council wasn't very sympathetic after she told them this story in fine detail. hmm

Take mum the woman aside and tell her she doesn't need to concern herself with xyz as she should be doing abc.

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