It only takes one social butterfly to distract a whole office, and as a manager, it’s on you to be sure that everyone can get their work done. If you need to reign in a chatty team member, first, acknowledge the awkwardness. You might say, “This feels uncomfortable, but I wanted to talk about something that’s been on my mind and may not be on your radar.” Be specific and neutral when you’re describing the person’s conduct. “You’re being too friendly at work” is an interpretation of behavior. Instead, try something more neutral like, “I notice that on Mondays, you come into my office to tell me about your weekend without asking if I have a few minutes to chat. I’m usually trying to catch up on time-sensitive emails at that time. Would you be willing to first ask if I have a few minutes free?” Also, make sure you convey positive intent. You might say something like: “To be clear, I feel confident that you’re not trying to bother me intentionally, and that you want to be friendly and inclusive. Did I get that right?” Although these conversations can be hard, remind yourself that your ultimate intent is to create a culture of supportive feedback that will benefit all of your employees.
This tip is adapted from “Managing the Social Butterfly in Your Office,” by Deborah Grayson Riegel
Categories: Management and Career Tips