Noisy. Brash. Arrogant- can be all traits of a loudmouth? And let’s face it I think we have all worked with one- or maybe currently work with one! And maybe not as famous as Mr. Trump!- I am lucky to work with a fun loving bunch in Abrivia so no complaints (I just hope they read this blog!) but having a loudmouth in the office can be destructive and create a toxic atmosphere. They annoy us. They can upset us and affect the morale within the office. The good news is that we don’t have to put up with the office so and so but the bad news is that it is not easy to confront them. I am certainly not stating that I have all the answers! But here are a couple of tips that may help.
1. Have a casual chat with him/ her if possible and if you feel comfortable with it.
You may be frustrated; irritated by this certain co- worker and on the verge of going to tell them to fly a kite (putting it politely!) but it’s important to keep your cool and not let your negative relationship with him/ her jeopardise your job or affect your work ethic. After all, burning bridges could sabotage future opportunities and you don’t want that!
If, and I know it’s a big IF, (it is easy for me to write this but I appreciate that it may not be easy!) try having an open but confidential conversation if you can. Most loudmouths suffer from low self-esteem and want attention all the time but try to have a one on one conversation with them. I think it would be important to carry this in a private setting- grab a coffee; make it casual. I know it might be irksome but pay them a compliment; make them feel at ease; identify their good traits (I hope they have some- even one!) and then mention casually but highlighting the importance of the situation “you don’t mind me saying but I really struggle to hear on the phone when you are talking; its just really difficult to hear and I would appreciate if you can tone it down a little; also is there anything that I do that annoys you”- the softly softly approach and trying to make them empathise with you can be a good way of approaching it but I would advise to pick the right setting; away from the desk. Conducting it a one to one environment may give the loudmouth the impression that you are looking for attention and they could immediately put up the defense barriers or go in to a rant to create attention.
2. Discuss it in an open platform but do not identify them
Sometimes, depending on the co- worker in question, it can be easier highlighting their behaviour in an open way but it’s important how you deliver it, not pinpointing or identifying them. For example, in a team meeting you can bring it up at the end of the meeting. “Guys, I think at times, we (important to say we) can call cut down at the chat at times; I personally find it hard to concentrate or listen to what the client is saying” Even deflect attention and state you could also improve the behaviour. By getting the rest of the team on board and by stating it in an open environment, you are highlighting the issue and chances are you are not the only one affected the loudmouth in question! But it’s important that this is done in a careful and considered way.
3.Vent at home! and if necessary take action
I am going to put my hands up here but I have vented about work to my good wife. Whether she listened or not is another question! However, by expressing your frustration and feelings to someone you can trust you are realising the pent up emotions before they can do damage in the workplace.
Unfortunately, if your co-worker has gone from mean to completely over the line, it may be time for you to consider your options and discuss the matter with a Manager, Supervisor or HR Department. Most larger organisations have a policy for dealing with harassment in the workplace. Reporting a co-worker who crosses the line too often might be the best thing for the good of the office. I know, you may feel guilty about it, no one likes reporting a co-worker (unless you are very sinister) and this could be the last resort but if you feel at your wits end, it is better to bring up the issue. If you file a report, do not make it personal and although you may feel emotional about it, try to explain in a rationale way – once again, easier said that done but it could be the best policy.