I currently work in a small office with several people most of whom are not in the same department as I am. One of whom have been with the business for quite a while and act as a mouthpiece for my manager when he's not around (since most of the other staff are on the other side of the building) but she is otherwise an secretary/admin type. This results in 2 primary issues: Firstly, they are under the mistaken impression they are my supervisor and secondly, they attempt to "help me" do my job.

It's the second issue that I am concentrating on as I am making some headway on the former. The helping issue is one that I find incredibly frustrating. I find that this coworker will interrupt me in conversations with clients in order to "correct" me (which then often requires me to correct their correction), will hover over me if I am on a phone call or try ask me to do things that are out of scope for my position (to give an example, one of the sys admins got chewed out for bringing up a desktop they noticed BSODing to our department because we are paid to do that, not them. due to this level of strictness even simply requests I have to deny as I learned quickly).

Now, what I find the most frustrating thing about this is her corrections are wrong, her hovering distracts me and if I decline to perform her requests she tells me that I am lacking in customer service et cetera. On top of this, I am highly qualified for this position and they have a cursory knowledge at best.

So, the question is this:

Is this an issue that I should take up with them personally, or is it best I contact my manager and get them to clarify? If I approach them, how do I go about it?

I am hesitant in involving my manager as I don't want it to seem like I am out to get this person, I simply don't want/need their "help".

  • 1
    same issue, only from opposite perspective: How can I keep myself from overstepping my authority with co-workers? From what is written there, "helped" colleague escalated the issue to the manager
    – gnat
    May 23, 2014 at 10:27
  • Make two little cards with "Go away" written on them, one in yellow, one in red. When someone tries to "help" you during a phone call, show them the yellow card. If they don't stop, show them the red card. And now you don't have to talk to them in private to sort this out, they have to talk to you which makes it their problem.
    – gnasher729
    Jul 21, 2014 at 17:43

2 Answers 2


You don't need their help, and you don't appreciate their assistance/interference. This is all fair enough - but it appears you've not actually discussed this with them.

I'd suggest asking to speak with them in private, and explaining things to them exactly the way you've done in the question - calmly and rationally. Having examples would be very helpful (as Vietnhi Phuvan suggests in their answer), but it's vital you have this constructive conversation with them before involving your manager.

If this conversation doesn't work or goes back, no harm, at least you tried, and you can show that you attempted to resolve it in a constructive way before going to a higher authority.


Unfortunately, you are going to have to escalate to your manager. Email him a series of scenarios that she got wrong. Then have a meeting with you, your manager and her where you'll recommend that going forward, she stay out of your way while you are taking the call. If you make any "mistakes", you'll go over them them with her after the call is over. And if it turns out that you really made a mistake, you'll call the client back. No harm, no foul. If it turns out that you are right, make sure that she knows that you are right. Either you do that, or you won't stop hearing from her until doomsday.

I've had someone do the same to me, and it was the CEO no less. I had to tell the CEO to back off in no uncertain terms, and to let me do my thing. He would interrupt me in the background but he was no longer hovering over me.

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