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I have a very junior colleague sitting to my right, he graduated 5 months ago and this is his first job, he works in a different team. I have been working for 10+ years. He is otherwise quite fine, friendly and all. But a lot of times he acts his age, which is very immature and unprofessional. Below are some examples from this week alone-

  1. One day, my boss came and told me - "wow, you were working late last night and today morning also you are early". At this moment, out of no where, he barges in and says "he was not here when I came, so I know he didn't sleep here". Basically trying to make a point that he came in earlier than me, even though it was not his boss. Completely stealing my moment.
  2. Then y'day I was discussing some project with my boss and we just happen to mention my colleague's team's name. He literally sprang form his chair, walked over to us and said "what are you discussing". I was trying to nudge the conversation to a particular direction and he totally ruined it. And it was not even related to him. We cant really be expected to walk off to a room for every other thing that we have to talk about.
  3. A lot of times if anyone has asked me something (nothing private/confidential/worthy of a separate meeting), god forbid, if he has heard the question he must answer it. He does not care that the question was not even addressed to him!No body likes being interrupted and given how frequently he does it, it annoys me even more.

Such incidents happen pretty much every other day. From what I know about him, he is not an evil person. But he still ends up acting like one and seriously irritating me.

I need some help/tips on how to change his behavior without really making him feel bad. Is there something I could do or say (how would I put it?). I have tried completely ignoring him for few hours when he behaves like this but his immaturity prevents him from getting the message.

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    For situations 2 and 3, do you not have a meeting room where you can meet to discuss your team issues in private? You said the colleague in question is not even in your team! Situation 1 is more of something you should let roll off you IMO. If not his juniorness, it could just be a quirky sense of humor and you should let it slide unless it becomes a hindrance to getting work done. – Brandin Apr 11 '15 at 10:49
  • @Brandin I apologize for confusion, I have updated the question to reflect that neither 2 nor 3 were private conversations. Bottom line is - it is none of his business to barge in, none of the mature guys do even though they hear the exact same things. Sense of humor or not, I dont want his interruptions and I need a way to tell him politely. – user2696565 Apr 11 '15 at 11:41
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    It would be important to know whether your organisation has a hierarchical culture or a more flat structure where everyone is equal. If there is a strong hierarchy then his behaviour can be wrong, but if your company has a flat structure and aims to have a very open working environment then he may not be in the wrong. – Cronax Apr 13 '15 at 9:02
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    Cronax - It doesn't matter what type of "work" culture you have. It is ALWAYS rude to barge in on others' conversations. – Dunk Apr 13 '15 at 19:57
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Every time this happens, as soon as you are alone with him, you give him a stern but friendly telling off. He obviously doesn't have a clue what he is doing, so he needs to be told. You might mention that if he did the same thing to a less mild mannered colleague than you, he would find himself in serious trouble.

If the behaviour repeats despite being told off, you tell him while the other person is there: "Remember what we discussed about interrupting people? We'll talk about this when I'm finished here".

If you don't react to it, he will think his behaviour is Ok and therefore will not change it.

  • thank you, thats very helpful. Apart from ignore, I have also tried telling him off sarcastically but he just doesnt get it. I do need to clearly spell it out for him, like parents do to their kids. Thanks again. – user2696565 Apr 11 '15 at 11:47
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You are 10 years senior to him, just take him to a meeting room and tell him politely that he is not a college student anymore, and he needs to change his behaviour. You then point out the instances that you have listed here, and tell him why his behaviour was not appreciated, and what was expected instead.

You cannot always avoid "making people feel bad". When people's mistakes are pointed out, they will feel bad, no matter how you say it. You cannot get around that problem by just avoiding the discussion.

If you tell him now, he will probably sulk for a few days, but then he will (hopefully) reflect upon it and improve. If you don't tell him, he will keep behaving the same way, and that might land him into a bigger trouble later. Your call.

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    "Not a college student" OMG that reminds me so much of an ex colleague (who is still a good friend.) When asked a question she didn´t know the answer to, she would never say she didn't know, but always volunteer any vaguely relevant info she had, even if it didn't answer the question. She'd been trained to do that at college. The problem here, as there, is that he doesn't understand that different behaviour is required at work. – Level River St Nov 2 '15 at 13:41

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