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Submitted by geekmanager715 on


So I have a group of several individuals working as a team within my larger team.  These employees sit away from me in another area that just houses those team members.  One of the employees has a greater than average lack of self-awareness.  This person has a low level of confidence in many areas of their job but has a specialty skill that makes them the subject matter expert for that skill amongst the group.  One major issue is I'm new in this position and most of this behavior and the damage to the team occurred over the last few years and I'm just taking this on now.  Employees aren't necessarily sharing these incidents with me as of yet, though I know the issues exist and some have touched on them briefly.  

Because I do not sit with them, I do not often witness the behavior first hand, though I have on occasion witnessed it and I have no reason to believe that several people are collectively against this person for no good reason. These people get along with everyone else.

Some of the behavior complaints I am told happened in the past:

  • Speaks loudly on the phone while talking about the area in which they are a subject matter expert
  • Interrupting people
  • Injecting themselves into conversations that they were not a part of while interrupting
  • Delivery, this person may have information on how someone may do a particular activity in a much more efficient manner but they approach it as "You did it all wrong" therefore it's not heard and people won't go to them for help or information anymore
  • Will often call out others wrongdoings in front of teams, everyone in the room notices except this person
  • Tries to talk about inappropriate topics with employees who have clearly said they were not interested
  • Will leave flyers or information about such inappropriate topics on employees desks for later, after they rejected talking about it

How do I address the behaviors I don't see when employees aren't likely comfortable enough to share them with me?  When an employee has expressed having an issue with this person, is it appropriate to ask later how that relationship is going?  I don't want to "dig" for information but I also want the other employees to feel they can come to me about the issues.


pucciot's picture
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HI I would suggest that you look at this like a marathon - not a sprint.


My reccomendation is to take each of these behaviors on one a at a time.  Perhaps at 2-3 weeks intervals. 

Pick the ones that you can really sink your teeth into and make sure that you can be fair in how you treat that same behavior when it happens to other (or any other) team memembers.

You may find that some of the other things may calm down as the tide of the others ebbs down. 


I think you can start with the clear obvious one ...

* Leaving the flyers on the Desk.     -- This can have a clear negative impact on  the rest of the team.

Even if you haven't gotten to negative FeedBack this could be clear case to just - make and enforce the rule.

Get them in private and clearly state that you have heard that they have been leaving political and/or religious flyers on co-workers desks after that co-worker has clearly said they do not wish to engage on the topic.  That you do not want that kind of atmopsphere in the office and the behavior is unprofessional.  

Make it clear that you are asking that this employee please does not leave non-work related flyers on a co-worker's desk unless that person as specifically asked for that information.

On this issue since it clearly inapproritae flyers on another co-worker's desk - I don't think you need to "ask" or "wait for negative feedback", this is a case that you need to jump on right away and tell them point blank not to contintue that behavior.

Then wait a week and bring up the next behavior. That is clear and disruptive.

Chances are that this person will start to get the message that you starting to watch and make changes and expect a certain level of behavior.

Eventually you will get to Negative feedback and be able to tackle the other more fuzzy behaviors.

Good Luck