How to deal with a loudmouth in the office
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 s 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.
Making Loudmouths Shut Up!
Surely you’ve been to a dinner party where one of the guests has ideas about, say, politics or the economy that you find illogical—maybe even alarming.
Yet he continues to blab on and on about “how things should be” without taking into account anyone else’s opinion. People this tend to be aggressive, overconfident and, perhaps most annoying of all, uncomfortably loud.
And—correct me if I’m wrong—there seems to be more of them around these days.
Is your blood pressure rising just thinking about it? Mine is! And that’s not healthy. So I called life coach and regular Daily Health News contributor Lauren Zander and asked her, “What’s the best way to deal with these opinionated bullies without sinking to their level?”
HOW TO ASSERT YOURSELF—WITHOUT FUELING THE FIRE
Zander’s plan for dealing with a loudmouth…
- Don’t say the first thing that comes to your mind. Though it’s tempting to denounce the shouter as an idiot or to outshout him with your own opinion, doing this will not change his mind. It will lead only to verbal fisticuffs—not to mention discomfort and awkward silences from others at the dinner table. As Zander noted, it isn’t always necessary to state your own principles—let alone fight about them—in order to remain true to them. Instead, while the tirade goes on, take a deep breath and say to yourself, I will not take the bait. With any luck, the loudmouth will soon pipe down, and then you and the others in the group will be able to get back to some real conversation.
- Change the subject. However, what if your loudmouth really is asking for a fight and persists in his rant? To keep him from hijacking the entire event, somebody will have to step in, Zander said, and if you want to be that person, here is what to do. Wait for a moment when the rant has slowed down—and then say to him, “Your point of view is very different from mine, and I understand that it’s really important to you. But we’ll never agree, so there is no point in talking about this further. Let’s talk about something else instead.” Then suggest a new topic—ideally something that is also interesting, but perhaps less weighty, such as food, technology, entertainment, family, travel or hobbies. Even if people at the table have differing opinions about such topics, discussing them is less ly to invoke fury. And, Zander told me, “As simple as it is, this technique of changing the subject tends to take argumentative people by surprise and quiet them.” Before the loudmouth can climb back on his soapbox, you and the other guests are already involved in a different discussion.
All in all, the key to getting less worked up by loudmouths is to let go of the idea that you’re going to “put them in their place” or change them, said Zander. Instead, what can keep you feeling calm and less angry in their presence is to defuse the entire encounter. And whether or not they say so, everyone else in the group will be silently thanking you for it!