In our staff meetings there's one person who talks over others. I've tried to address this, but she insists that she's just enthusiastic and doesn't change. What can I do about this behavior?
Some things are better addressed directly, and as soon as possible. Otherwise, they risk becoming the norm that everyone accepts simply because they've always been that way. This is one of them.
A key to successfully disrupting ingrained behaviors is to speak about the behavior involved, not the person. With that in mind, there are several steps you'll have to take to deal with this effectively. The first is to meet with her alone and clearly and directly explain that this is an ongoing problem you have addressed before but to no avail. Start with a summary statement of those past discussions and give some examples of when she's talked over others. Next, explain the negative effect her continuing behavior has had on other team members.
Once you've outlined the problem in detail, you can move on to the remaining steps. Describe the desired new behavior you want to see – that is, no more talking over others, no matter how passionate she feels about the topic at hand. Also put the ball in her court by asking her to make a plan to achieve this new behavior, starting with the very next meeting. Then review her plan and add to it as needed. Finally, monitor her progress on a regular basis and give her any necessary feedback until the behavior has reached an acceptable level.
, organizational psychologist, is the president of management-consulting company Lumpkin & Associates in Fairhope, AL. Need answers? Email your career-related questions to firstname.lastname@example.org