Interfering colleague

(6 Posts)
CrystalSkull Wed 02-Apr-14 23:20:51

Let's call this person Clare. She's been at the company for 15 years and I've been there for 9 months. She is senior to me but we both report to the same boss. At first, I really appreciated Clare showing me the ropes, but the problem is that she's continued to do this even now I've become competent in my role.

Today she asked me no fewer than four times whether I'd done a routine task when it was completely in hand. I was just waiting for my boss to approve it before I circulated it. I explained this to Clare but she kept asking me about it! She does this very often - every day - asking me about things that are under control and actually have nothing to do with her. She will also interrupt when I am discussing projects with colleagues, telling us where we are wrong. I get great feedback from my boss and the directors so I know I'm doing a good job, but Clare makes me feel incompetent.

I am reluctant to ask her for help more often as the last time I did so, she rolled her eyes at me and said she was too busy. When she found out that I'd gone ahead and completed the work without her, she yelled at me in front of everyone (including our boss). Our boss is good at what she does in many ways but hates conflict so didn't intervene.

Any advice?

EBearhug Thu 03-Apr-14 19:22:02

Have you tried talking to her? Say something like you appreciate all her help in getting you settled in and up-to-speed, which has worked really well, so now you don't want to take up her time as she's so busy, she can assume you don't need help if you haven't mentioned it.

That may or may not work, and if it doesn't, I would probably talk to my manager and ask for advice on how to handle it.

CrystalSkull Wed 09-Apr-14 19:51:56

Thank you for the reply, EBearhug. I appreciate it. I have been waiting to see how the situation develops. There are some complications that have made me reluctant to speak up so far. I owe Clare a favour outside of work (she went out of her way to help me when my mother was rushed to hospital). In addition, she is partially deaf so 'having a quiet word' wouldn't work. I couldn't say anything without the whole office overhearing.

I'm also just really scared to speak up. I'm quite new so I'm worried I'll be seen as a trouble-maker. I'm worried how Clare will react because she appears (at least to me) to have a bad attitude; she sighs a lot and tends to answer people rudely. She screamed at me the other day for 'making assumptions' about something factual when I had done absolutely nothing of the sort. I also have a nice but weak boss whom I'm not sure will actually do anything.

I think I'll have to speak up, though. I'm seeing my boss for a private meeting about an unrelated matter tomorrow. The situation with Clare is getting worse. Today a colleague came up to me to ask for advice on a matter that falls within my remit (and nobody else's). Clare butted in and completed wrestled the conversation away from me, despite my attempts to give her a 'look' and answer the colleague's questions myself. In the end I gave up as Clare would just not stop talking, even though she actually gave out inaccurate information. I have made a log of this and other incidents, trying to keep it as factual as possible.

I feel like such a coward for not nipping this in the bud. It's getting worse and I am now spending most of my time trying to control my rage. angry Sorry this is so long!

EBearhug Wed 09-Apr-14 20:31:15

I didn't necessarily mean a literally quiet word - just away from everyone else - go for a coffee or something.

One way or another, if you're spending most of your time trying to control your rage, you do need to do something. I would bring it up in the meeting tomorrow - starting as how can we make it easier to work together?

Did you mention to your other colleague that not all the information was entirely accurate?

FunkyBoldRibena Thu 10-Apr-14 20:23:25

Claire asks you if you have done a routine task; You say it is sorted and in hand. If she asks again, say 'I've already said, it's sorted, thanks'. Repeat if asked again.

Claire interrupts you - you let her finish and then ignore her and say 'as I was saying, x and y is z and yada yada yada, shall I send you an email confirming it?'

Alternatively, can you arrange to go to a meeting room to discuss these projects, or schedule a separate meeting, or respond 'Aah I wanted to talk to you about that, can I catch up with you in a bit' and then go to their desk to discuss it out of her earshot?

hamptoncourt Sun 13-Apr-14 09:59:13

Funky makes some good points, try to divert conversations away from her so she cannot butt in.

Also, if she is repeatedly asking you the same thing, you could try the humorous not really approach of saying "Oh Miss Interfering, I have already told you this, are you getting forgetful?" and if she does it again, "I am getting really worried about you, you can't remember anything I tell you!"

And yes, tell your boss.

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