Has To Be The Star

Question:

I have a co-worker who absolutely has to have her nose in everyone’s business. She undermines everyone she possibly can, in an innocent way, so she appears to be innocent. This “I wanna’ be seen” employee invites herself to meetings with people she does not directly work with. Then she informs the employee who DOES work directly with this person, that the meeting is going to take place. She impedes production. She’s creating unhealthy competition and aggravation. Our direct supervisor is aware of the “nosy, speak too much & know nothing & lying” personality & annoying employee. What do you do to control this person when she is directly impacting your position?

Signed,

Plenty Annoyed


Answer:

Dear Plenty Annoyed:

You have voiced your frustration with no small number of angry adjectives describing your coworker; however, in your query, I read no specific instances in which she has lied or impeded production. Therefore, your frustration seems to rest mainly on irritation with her invasion of others’ and your workspace. Have you confronted her? When she has “nosed in” to your assigned job, have you said, “Rosa, this is my job and I don’t appreciate your help. Thank you for wanting to help, but the best way you can help is to bow out and let me concentrate on what I am doing”? That’s blunt. From what you say, she needs to be told bluntly. But it is your supervisor’s job to meet with her privately and learn why she has inserted herself in places in which she has no business. Apparently, your supervisor has not. Often leaders are tolerant of and/or reluctant to cross an assertive subordinate. It is not your responsibility to tell your supervisor how to manage another employee unless you have specific examples of how that individual has messed up your work. It is then that you can say, we need some do and don’t rules about how we interact. Also you can say I’ve been thinking about some of the dos and don’ts that might make us a more effective workgroup. One of the suggestions I frequently make is for a workgroup to hammer out a set of do and don’t rules. Yet, might there be another way to cope with and curb Ms. “I wanna’ be seen”? Possibly, that might be accomplished if your supervisor would engage your workgroup in quality improvement efforts. And you can help that happen by studying what team work means and how to make it real. For example, the next time your supervisor calls a meeting, suggest ways to cut wasted supplies, wasted energy, wasted duplication, wasted time and wasted money. Initiating such a conversation would call attention to getting the job done efficiently and effectively. Ms. Speak Too Much & Know Nothing and others of your coworkers would react to challenge your proposal to change the way things are done. They would argue and debate. No one would be able to dominate. If Ms. Know It All would try to take over the discussion, you and your supervisor could, “Say, stop, Rosa, listen to what each of us have to say.” Likely your supervisor would then say, “We need to spend more time on these suggestions.” And you could then say, “Let’s meet weekly on improving our quality of goods and service.” These are a number of ideas, and you might find my answer to a similar query of interest: She Has Her Nose In Everything! http://workplacedoctors.com/wpdocs/qdetail.asp?id=2774 Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. getting to WEGO does not come without assertive effort, sometimes that means curbing overly assertive egos.

William Gorden