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End frivolous interruptions

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

As a manager, you need to be accessible to employees, but what should you do when they constantly interrupt you for trivial reasons? Follow this advice:

•  Stop pretending it’s OK. If em­­ployees are always stopping by to chat, ask silly questions or provide unnecessary updates, it’s because you allow the behavior to go on.

•  Set some boundaries. Tell frequent interrupters that their visits are hurting your and their pro­­ductivity. Set ground rules for when they should stop by, for example, if an emergency pops up. Also establish alternative means of communicating less urgent issues with you, such as email or instant message.

•  Schedule a huddle. If possible, hold a quick 10-minute meeting with frequent interrupters each day to answer questions, receive updates and chat. If they know they will receive your undivided attention at some point, it will be easier to stick to your boundaries.

•  Enforce your new rules. If employees continue to stop by, don’t give in. Say something like “This isn’t urgent, so let’s discuss it during our next meeting,” and then turn back to your work.

— Adapted from “Managing: How Can I Stop Employees From Interrupting Me With Unnecessary Updates?” Alison Green, www.bizjournals.com.

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