My situation is that we're two team-managers leading a team of 8 other guys. I've got a co-worker who is regularly condescending to everyone. When a question is posed to the team he shouts everyone down whilst he gets around to answering it.

When asked about his opinion on something, he is adamant about his opinion. But he is unable to give reasons even when the opposite viewpoint is proven to work.

He is regularly in the ear of the management team and all the teams we interface to.

My question is: How do I effectively succeed with a co-worker who is an obnoxious self-promoter?

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    In many situations you will find someone who gets an answer very quick, is totally confident - and totally wrong. – gnasher729 Oct 16 '18 at 11:43
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    When proven wrong "Hey [name of the obnoxious self-promoter]. You've been proven wrong, again. Why don't you give it a rest?" Yes, that's kind of obnoxious as well, but you won't educate him with politeness. – gnasher729 Oct 16 '18 at 11:45
  • When they stop say may I speak now. If they interrupt say I did not interrupt you and would like to finish. – paparazzo Oct 16 '18 at 11:46
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    Please clarify your desired outcome. "How do I effectively succeed with a co-worker..." is too broad. – Elmy Oct 16 '18 at 13:29
  • Are you in the same team and on the same level? – Strader Oct 16 '18 at 14:19

Meetings with someone like this often need to be led firmly. A few points come to mind that can help here:

  • Try to ask specific questions rather than general questions or for opinions.
  • If he fails to answer the (specific) question at hand, call him out on it.
  • If he interrupts someone, call him out on it, stop him, and then hand the floor back to the person who he interrupted.
  • If he's rambling for too long without getting to a point, don't be afraid to ask him to get to the point (politely, of course.)

So instead of saying:

We're looking to migrate all our source repositories over from Subversion to Git. What do you think?

You could ask:

We're looking to migrate all our active source repositories over from Subversion to Git. The challenges we've thought of so far with this are detailed on the handout in front of you. Can anyone suggest anything else to add to this list?

If (Bill) then kicks in with something that's not outlining a challenge, or is something irrelevant, then you can cut in with something like:

Bill, I'm happy to cover that specific point later on, but that's taking us off track now.

Then repeat the question. If he keeps doing this, then just be consistent, keep cutting him off, and make it clear that the meeting isn't a platform for him to just voice any old ideas. Similarly, if he interrupts someone who's giving an answer:

Bill, I'm happy to come to you in a bit, but can we let Alex finish first?

If, even after introducing this structure, Bill is still being disruptive in meetings, then that's the right time to pull him into a 1 to 1 and ask him to be more respectful of others.

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