Another update from the Jungle….
Sharon is a middling performer, not great but not so bad that her job’s on the chopping block. She’s willing to work with any team to which she is assigned and she can be depended on to slog through some of the more tedious work.
Unfortunately for her co-workers, Sharon believes in sharing the details of her life. Her co-workers call her “Sharing Sharon”, as well as a few other names not fit for print here. Sharon’s co-workers know all about her marital problems, her son’s attention deficit disorder, and her teenaged daughter’s complicated love life. They also know about her cat’s litterbox problems and suffered for a week while Sharon agonized over her decision to put down her aging, sick dog.
Sharon cares about more than just her family, of course. One week she insists people should do more to save furry baby animals before all non-human species become extinct. Another week she explains that she’s reducing her carbon imprint by avoiding plastic water bottles.
Sharing Sharon’s oversharing is beginning to affect operations. One worker twisted her ankle when several employees imitated the running of the bulls to clear the break room to avoid Sharon. Several co-workers told the HR manager, Pam that they would rather quit the company, losing their 401(k) match than be stuck on another team with Sharon.
Pam has tried several times to give Sharon a hint that her personal life is better shared on Facebook with personal friends than with co-workers. Sharon just doesn’t get it. The breaking point feared by Pam has now happened. Sharon was busy oversharing in a team meeting and the team leader was finally goaded beyond endurance. He yelled at Sharon to “shut up, already!”
Now Sharon is sitting in Pam’s office, sobbing and begging for Pam’s help.
How should Pam handle this situation?
- She can privately thank the team leader with a bottle of Gentleman Jack for saying what all of Sharon’s co-workers wanted to say but were afraid to.
- She can sympathize with Sharon’s distress but remind her (again) that personal lives shouldn’t be brought into the workplace.
- She can counsel the team leader regarding the company’s anti-bullying policy which prohibits derogatory comments to co-workers, sympathize with his exhausted patience, and encourage him to find less brutal ways to make his point in future.
In the actual situation, the co-workers continued to cringe and hide until their “Sharing Sharon” accepted a job at a competitor.
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