Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How to Deal with “Talkative” Employees

Effectively Handling Outspoken Team Members

Every business is made up of a team of individuals – all of these team members are unique in their own ways. Great leaders understand how to deal with and manage different personality types in order to keep their team working efficiently. “Talkative” employees pose an interesting challenge for leaders. These team members are outspoken and persuasive, causing more introverted team members to follow their lead. It is important for leaders to manage these employees effectively to keep their team running.

Managing “Talkative” Employees in a Meeting Setting

One of the areas where talkative employees usually cause the most disruption is during meetings. These team members may have a tendency to talk over others, lead the conversation when it is not their turn or even steer the entire group off the topic at hand. These behaviors may cause the entire team to follow the outspoken team member’s lead, which may have an otherwise structured, productive meeting go completely off track. There are ways that leaders can mitigate the impact of talkative employees during these meetings while also being respectful and allowing them to contribute.

Before the meeting begins, have a conversation with the employee. Although this may be uncomfortable, it is important to express what needs to happen and that off-topic conversations are not allowed. Make sure to approach this in a calm, respectful manner noting an understanding of their passion. During the meeting, address other employees directly before the talkative employee can jump in – “Nancy, what do you think about the ROI on this project?” Statements such as this allow others to speak their mind while alerting the outspoken employee that it is someone else’s turn to talk.

Another great tactic that can be used is going around the room and giving each team member a few minutes to express their thoughts or concerns without interruption. This will allow the talkative employee to speak without over taking other team members. If the employee does begin to overtake the meeting, politely interrupt them and bring the conversation back on track. If they continue, turn away from the employee and continue the topic of conversation with the rest of the team – if the outspoken employee notices no one is listening to them chances are they will stop the behavior.

How to Get the Most Out of “Talkative” Employees

Outspoken employees are often very passionate and thoughtful about what they do – the problem is that they think and speak at the same time! Make sure to respect the process they go through to get work done and let them know you appreciate their passion. When talkative employees come and ask the age old question, “do you have a few minutes?” make sure to establish with them exactly how much time you have to talk. Before the conversation begins, ask them for the main point or question before they start with an explanation. Finally, when time is up, stand up and ask them to walk with you to your next meeting – this will be a great indicator that time is up and they need to get to the point quickly.

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