I'm the team lead at a small software development firm and we have one other developer that I share an office with. I am not their boss, but my responsibilities involve managing their tasks and making sure the companies software is being developed to the best of my abilities. This colleague is very curious about everything that goes on, some examples are:
- Prying into the details of meetings I attended (how'd it go? is everything okay? You were in the CEO's office for a while, is my job okay? etc)
- Becoming frustrated that certain events throughout the day weren't shared with them immediately, details that will be shared but, I've decided are best communicated at the proper times (when we have down time or perhaps first thing next day)
- If I have a lunch meeting with our boss or bosses my colleague is hurt that they weren't invited. Mind you this colleague is not left out of all meetings, but there are quite a few that don't involve them.
In the past I've explained that some of my responsibilities include updating higher ups on status, capabilities or putting out fires and it doesn't make sense to have anyone else attend these short meetings. At one point our mutual direct boss and even the CEO reiterated the same. With this said I have reiterated expectations for their role to them and that I need them completely focused on the tasks I've given them and not to worry about things outside of their control.
I'm torn between the approach of deflecting the questions that are not any of their business and taking a more direct approach of telling them that it's not appropriate for them to be asking about private meetings. Both approaches result in varying levels of pouting and whining, and operating at half capacity until the next day when they come in refreshed. I really do care about people and want to give them good constructive feedback to help them get to the place they want to be at, but it doesn't seem to go anywhere in this case. It's inevitable that we are going to hire more people and chances are they are going to be more experienced and/or better equipped than my colleague, so I am trying to look out for them and get them on a path that will make them competitive and not end up at the bottom of the barrel.
I've worked with other people at other companies and have never run into this. When a manager would enter the room to speak to a specific person, everyone continued doing their work, they had stuff to do and they focused on doing it, whereas this person doesn't have the diligence to focus on the specifics of their job. In the past I've brought up specific scenario's which result in them complying, but having a passive aggressive attitude towards a situation next time it happens.
I'm wondering how I can handle a person like this and maybe in the process how I can convince them to change their attitude and help them save their job. At the end of the day we're a small team trying to do big things while having a good time and we'd prefer to grow an existing employee rather than cutting our losses.
I'd love to extend more responsibility to them, but the truth is that they are not demonstrating that they can handle their current responsibilities at a level that suggests they are ready to move up. Historically, conversations about how they can improve seem fruitful after the conversation, but the behaviors never seem to change.
I think they hold a certain perspective of how they think or want things to work and they either don't have the experience to back up that perspective or don't have the expertise or diligence to make it happen.