Annoying Co-worker


We have an employee that seems to have a problem socially fitting in with employees. It’s hard to nail down the problem, but something about her turns off employees. She constantly talks about her health issues and personal problems, including financial problems. Many employees complain about her, but most of the things are just that she annoys them. She has emotional outbursts at work and thinks everyone is out to get her. Most recently, employees have complained that she has been asking for food and money. How do we address this?


Don’ts That Annoy


Dear Don’ts That Annoy:

You don’t say if you or anyone else has confronted Ms. Annoys about her behavior. Obviously someone, most particularly her superior should. You list four types of behavior that detract from her doing for what she is hired: · constantly talking about health, personal problems, and financial problems, · emotional outbursts, · paranoia about everyone out to get her, and · requesting food and money. This poor soul needs help. She can’t afford to lose her job, but her pattern of behavior puts her job at risk. She needs to be informed of that; not in an indirect subtle way, but with straight talk. That straight talk should list the topics and outbursts that annoy, and more importantly that distract from her and others’ work. Very likely these matters bubble up and out because they are troubling to her and sometime explode because of them are outside her ability to manage them or her self.

Does your company have a Department of Employee Assistance or of Human Resources? Just as some employees need anger management, this individual needs know what is acceptable and what is not. Her supervisor, in cooperation and guidance from such departments, should spell out the dos and don’ts of her assignment and that includes job performance. A plan for interpersonal and job performance should be communicated and ideally should be collaboratively formulated both face to face and in writing in a private session with HR. Her pattern of annoying and distracting behavior probably has formed over many months if not years and changing that likely will take time, if at all. Therefore a schedule to monitor–re-enforce and/or correct; should be built into that plan.

If your work group had regular skull sessions focused on its performance and interactions, this matter most likely would have surfaced, and possibly would have been prevented, extinguished or at least confronted earlier. Coaches of sports teams bring players together before and after games. They point up what went well and what needs correcting. They are clear on the do and don’ts of player behavior on and off the playing field. Players are encouraged about how and how not to confront distracting and destructive behavior. In most companies, Human Resources is the source for dealing with that kind of behavior.

Dan Kearney, a Manager of Human Resources and occasional guest respondent to our site, responds pointedly responds to your question: “Send her to HR. NO ONE likes to hear about others’ problems. Obviously someone didn’t do a complete background check on her or this would have been known before hiring her. Also her co-workers need to tell her that this is not appropriate behavior. They SHOULD NOT tell her to seek counseling, let HR “suggest” this.

“This person will most likely be terminated as she does not gel with her co-workers.

“On the flip side of this, there’s a piece of wisdom here: Never get upset with others at work or with another company as you don’t know what problems/issues they are going through.”

I’m sure you will appreciate his wisdom. If you find time please update us on what you do and how this matter is resolved. We learn from the unique experience from those of you who participate in our forum. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.

Dan Kearney & Wm. Gorden