Co-worker consistently interrupts me in meetins

Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2019 10:09 am
How best to deal with this so as not to cause friction.

Some background - I am an AVP at a financial services company where we deal with a client (another financial service company). About 6 months ago my peer in the group was moved to another client. They promoted this guy (who seems to be a generally nice guy) to the position to be my peer.

I like him enough and he has very good technical knowledge - more on the systems side. I have much more years of industry experience and more time with this particular client.

Recently in meetings when I am talking explaining items or leading a meeting he interrupts me mid-sentence. It is getting to happen more and more to the point that it is irritating me. In all other aspects I have no issue with him whatsoever. It isn't as if he is adding anything and there is no reason for it.

Today we had a conference call with the client including my boss and those that report to me. I was clarifying with the client how they wanted a particular item handled and he just jumped in while I was talking. I gave him a look when he did this - (I am a mom and I have a good look). I do not think it looks good for me in front of the client and my reports (boss as well) when this occurs. On the flip side when he is discussing an item in his wheelhouse, I do not interrupt.

I do not see malice in this maybe a bit too much enthusiasm as to get his spot in the group. I thought about approaching him and being direct to put a stop to it. I also feel close enough to my boss to discuss with her - not to call him out about it but maybe so she can advise him?
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Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2019 10:17 am
I am putting myself in his shoes....

If after I was promoted, someone came to me respectfully in said... "I am glad you are here. I feel like you cut me off in meetings when I am speaking... I really want a chance to finish my thought when I am speaking.".

I would respond positively. I would apologize and try to be aware of it.

If someone at my job has a problem with me, I certainly want them to come to me first. If they talked to the boss first I would feel disrespected.
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Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2019 10:43 am
Yes, first step would be to address it in private, IMO. Lots of folks are super eager-beaver when they first get promoted, and want to show how smart they are.

If it continues, a couple options are to a) wait a beat and then, "please let me finish my thought, and then we'd love to hear what you have to say" or b) just keep talking over his interruption.

I've got two guys on my team (almost always guys who do this, IMO) who will just start talking in the middle of someone else.
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Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2019 10:50 am
I was just thinking, I had a situation where a co-worker (let's call him Josh) was critical of me. He went to my boss.

Josh and I were working on a important project. He outranked me, but I wasn't a direct report. I had serious engineering questions about his design and I stated my reservations in a way that I felt was professional. I did make my objections clear (which were absolutely correct). I don't feel like I acted badly toward him; it is certainly possible that I could have done things differently to make him feel better... but it would have helped if he and I could have spoken about this.

In my performance review my boss said "someone has a problem with you because you are not a team player". I knew right away who it was. I was really upset that Josh would go to the boss, rather than coming to me. I told the boss this... I said "I know that it is Josh, and I find it a little ironic that he would tell you that I am not a 'team player' rather than coming to me directly. I don't know what he means by 'team player' but this doesn't feel like it.

The project failed (for many reasons not just my objections). Josh left soon after, and so did the boss. I ended up with with Josh's job.

My point is that it is always better to treat co-workers with respect. This means going to them directly when there is an issue. It is always better (in my opinion) to work things out as two human beings.
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Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2019 12:11 pm
I notice that on TV talk shows - when talk- over happens - the first person will raise their hand up (with pointed finger) and say “Let me finish my point.” Most back down.

That’s a physical and verbal gesture.

Are you on the phone with the client ( conference call) and your co- worker is in the room? Maybe you can do that.

An alternative is to make sure both don’t have input with the same subject. A “you take the production and I’ll take the installation” approach might keep both of you from stepping on each other’ toes.

I can tell you that it’s confusing to the customer to have two voices speaking at once, in person or on the phone.
Reply Wed 9 Jan, 2019 02:43 pm
You have a point and that is how it typically is - he is more in the technology and there are obvious areas where I am the lead or most knowledgeable and others that he is. I am typically leading meetings for example - and this particular last item was one I was more in tune with.

It was not a situation in which he should have jumped in or needed to - compare it to that student in class that always has to ask a question whether it is necessary or not.

I think the difference is - I am of the type - I like to be concise and efficient not speak for the sake of speaking. That is my style. He likes to just talk and expand. He pretty much restated what I had already said.

As far as going to my boss - it wasn't in a tattling sort of way. I know her personally as well so I thought I have a good enough relationship that it wouldn't be perceived that way - more of here is some feedback to help him out and help our group out.

But I guess as peers it should be better to come from me first. I think I was maybe seeing it as easier discussion with my boss because of our relationship it is easier to discuss and be more up front with her. And in one sense you don't want to shut someone up - just not interrupt you.
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