Complete the Head & Heart Leader Scale™ and receive a free, personalised report here.

Got a Minute?

Home | Got a Minute | Bad bosses | No. 104 – How do you deal with a boss who loves the sound of his own voice?

No. 104 – How do you deal with a boss who loves the sound of his own voice?

Share this aticle

26 April 2023

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.

By sheer coincidence, a new colleague of mine used to work in the same team as my wife. I don’t think he has made the connection since my wife and I have different surnames. This new colleague joined my team a few months ago, and he told us he left his last job because he was looking for a new challenge and better pay. So far, he has been an excellent addition to our team, and we all really like him. However, my wife told me that there was a workplace investigation that involved this guy about six months ago, and he left his job soon after. She doesn’t know all the details, but the timing seems suspicious. What should I do with this information?

I would keep this information to yourself. Your colleague would have had reference checks done to get his new job in your team, and there would have been conversations between him and your company you were not privy to. He may have explained what happened already, you just don’t know. You also have no information about what may have happened, if anything, at his last job. The damage to his reputation and personal hurt you could cause by talking about these rumours based on scant information from your wife would not be fair to him or appropriate.

I commute to work each day by bus and train, and it takes about an hour. The public transport system is always a hassle which is bad enough, but the cost is becoming prohibitive. My rent has also increased, and I am finding it hard to make ends meet. I would like to stop commuting to save money. My workplace allows some people to work from home but not everyone; it depends on the role you have. Do you have any suggestions for how to get my boss to agree my role can be done remotely?

It sounds like the motivation you have to work from home is to save money (which is completely understandable) but the reality is, that is not what will motivate your boss to agree. I think you need to think about your role specifically – which parts of it can be done remotely and which will be more of a challenge. You will have to present an argument to your boss setting out how your company will be no worse off for you working from home. You may also have to suggest ways you could initially transition into a hybrid role by reducing the number of times you need to commute into the office each week as a starting point. My advice is to understand your company policy about the kind of roles which can be approved to work from home, try and make sure you meet as many of the requirements as possible and then set out all the reasons the company will also benefit from this change.

Send your questions about work, careers and leadership to Your name and any identifying information will not be used. Letters may be edited.

Link to original

Share this aticle
Got a Minute

Ask a Question

You can submit your own question anonymously.

Read Got a Minute

Every Wednesday since 2021, Kirstin has written a hugely popular column in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age answering curly questions from readers on work, leadership and careers. 

Latest Got a Minute

Stay in touch

Join many thousands around the world who have subscribed to Dr Kirstin Ferguson’s free weekly newsletter, Impact Loop.

As a bonus, you will receive the introduction to her award-winning and bestselling book, Head & Heart: The Art of Modern Leadership, to download for free.
©2023 Kirstin Ferguson Pty Ltd
Privacy Policy