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Each week, Dr Kirstin Ferguson tackles questions on the workplace, career and leadership in her advice column “Got a Minute?” This week: a loudmouthed boss, a new colleague with a past, and how to get permission to work from home.
My boss loves the sound of his own voice. In meetings, around the office, at staff events; you name it. My boss is talking. He shares his views on everything and everyone. There isn’t an issue we haven’t heard his opinion on, and meetings are just agony because he drones on and on. He will ask a question and then answer it himself and everyone in the office rolls their eyes and talks about him behind his back. I don’t think he has any idea. My workmates and I all get on really well, and we bond over the fact our boss is so bad. However, it is frustrating and while I can wear headphones a lot of the time at my computer, I do still need to interact with him and listen to him during much of the day. Any ideas?
I want to put my headphones on just thinking about your boss. Let’s call him Mr Haveachat. There is nothing worse – not just in a boss – but in anyone who can’t pick up the social cues on when it is time to shut up. Worse than that, as a leader, he is sucking the oxygen out of your office and preventing anyone from being able to come up with any solutions and ideas of their own. Everything in your boss’ mind revolves around him.
He sounds like he is not going to listen to feedback or even give you the space to give feedback. I recommend that if your company ever does a culture survey or 360 reviews, make sure you share your observations. If there is a way you can speak with someone you all trust in the organisation, whether that is in HR or elsewhere, about how you are finding working with him, that may also help. It sounds like a peer or Mr Haveachat’s boss needs to sit with him and give him some constructive feedback on how his behaviour is impacting everyone else.