Shutting Down The Office Motormouth — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
Question:“One of my employees is a good worker, but she’s a real motormouth.
“Brenda” talks nonstop to anyone she can corner, repeating the same stories
about her marriage, her family and her medical problems. She not only keeps
other employees from working, but she also runs off potential customers with her
nonstop conversation. If Brenda would just shut up, the office would greatly
improve. I’ve been patient about this so far, but now she’s demanding more money
because she’s getting divorced. Brenda has told co-workers that she could earn
more elsewhere, so I'm tempted to just tell her to leave. I have invested time
training Brenda, and I can’t fault her work (when she’s not talking). But I
don’t know how to correct this problem without tossing her out the door.” —
Marie's Answer: There's a lot of territory
between tolerating Brenda and tossing her out. For starters, you need to give
her some honest feedback and set clear expectations. That’s what good managers
* Explain to her: "Brenda, your friendly personality is a real
strength, and I appreciate that. However, you’re spending too much time on
personal conversations. This prevents other people from working and distracts
our customers. I realize that this habit may be hard to break, so I'll tell you
if I see it happening in the future."
* When you see Brenda
monopolizing someone’s time, tactfully ask to speak with her privately and
remind her about idle chatter.
* Respond to her money demands by
calmly explaining that raises are given for improved performance, not difficult
life situations. If Brenda says that she can earn more elsewhere, tell her that
you’ll understand if she decides to pursue a better opportunity.
* Should Brenda fail to improve, you can always start searching for her
replacement. You might find someone who won’t annoy your staff or alienate your
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