DEAR ABBY: I manage a small branch office with one subordinate, an older man named "Maury." Until I was hired a few weeks ago, he worked for several years with almost no supervision. Now I'm trying to deal with his many bad habits -- the worst being his endless conversation.
Maury chatters away about every conceivable topic -- to me as well as to customers. Not only is his information self-aggrandizing and inaccurate, but it's almost always unwelcome. He ignores all subtle signs to end a conversation, such as the person walking away or saying goodbye. He goes on and on and often follows the customer or me around, interrupting whenever he pleases.
Customers have complained to me about his inappropriate chatter and behavior.
Since Maury and I are the only people working in this office, I must maintain a cordial working relationship with this character, but it is becoming increasingly difficult. My supervisor has left it up to me to "shut him up" and curb his behavior. Please advise me, Abby. -- FEELING ALONE IN THE OFFICE
DEAR ALONE: It's your job to manage Maury, so begin by establishing "visiting time" on breaks only, and see that he sticks to it. You may sound like a broken record, but as many times a day as necessary, emphasize that more work (and less talk) must be the rule during business hours.