...Your Boss Is Getting Too Personal
What to say when your boss is getting too personal. Here's the situation. Your boss is about the same age as you are and you get along well, but she sometimes behaves more like a friend than a boss, for example, by talking about her own personal issues or problems at home. You listen politely and you don't reciprocate with your own stories, hoping she will get the message. You don't want to offend your boss, but you also want to keep it professional, so what should you do or say? Here's what you may be thinking and what not to say, "That's none of my business." Here's a solution. Don't assume she knows where your boundaries are or that hers are the same, or that she has clear boundaries for that matter. Sometimes what's appropriate to one is inappropriate to another. And it is your responsibility to educate your colleagues about where your boundaries are in a way that is assertive and clear without being offensive, patronizing, or condescending. So here's what you could say. "I know we...
get along well and we have a good working relationship, but sometimes the conversation goes into territory that is uncomfortable for me." You could approach it with curiosity and then say, "Are you aware of when that line is crossed? Or that what you're sharing is a bit too personal for a professional relationship, at least in my book." You could approach it with generosity and say, "Would you like me to tell you when I feel that line is crossed?" Or with humility, "I don't want to be rude but I'm not sure how to let you know when that happens. What is your preference?" Here's the over-arching idea. You have a right to set the boundaries between personal and professional relationship, but it is your responsibility to do so. Now, if that isn't your style, simply change the topic. Typically that suffices. Anything else sounds like an invitation to negotiate and you don't want that. Make sense?
It’s always important to know the right thing to say in various situations, but it’s particularly important at work. Getting tongue-tied or putting your foot in your mouth when speaking to a work colleague or superior could get you into trouble and impact your ability to thrive in your career.
So wouldn’t it be great if you had a virtual archive of precise language you can use in any professional situation? For example, what might you say when someone at work loses a loved one, when office politics get ugly or when a colleague isn’t pulling their weight?
Taught by Ilise Benun, an author and teacher known as the Marketing Mentor, this course provides you with concrete advice and guidance about how to handle a wide variety of situations and conversations. Using bite-sized videos that portray real-world situations, it will give you the tools you need to communicate clearly, appropriately and assertively at work.
In this class, you’ll learn how to:
- Communicate with everyone in your professional arena, from bosses to direct reports, vendors to clients.
- Avoid miscommunication when possible and recover from it when you can’t.
- Go from people-pleaser to self-respecting professional.
- Know the right thing to say at the right moment.
- Take time to assess the situation before making your response.
- Know when to speak and when to stay quiet.
- Decide whether a written or a verbal response is more appropriate.