Any advice on how to get my boss to have shorted conversations?  She talks too long and I don't have the time.

My boss tells me to manage my time better but will come in and take 1.5 hours, or more, to tell me something that could be said in 5 minutes.  Then she just talks and talks.

I don't have time for this.  I am literally doing the job of two people since the functions were merged three years ago.  I am working six days a week and I'm still behind.  I am not a slacker!  In the last two years the work load has tripled as measured by a number of metrics. 

Any suggestions on how to throw your boss out of your office, OR how to get out of her office in a timely manner, is appreciated.


jhack's picture


Perhaps the real issue isn't the time she spends talking to you...

First, though, let's get your question out of the way:  there is no easy way to tell your boss to go away.  Doing so with tact would require a significant amount of detail as to the exact circumstances (what's being discussed, history of the relationship, current mood, etc).  Unfortunately, there is no technique that can work universally. 

And you can't manage time.  You can only manage priorities.  And there's your opening.  Try discussing priorities and workload with your boss.  Work with her, get her help, on handling your top priorities.  Rather than seeing her as an interruption, look at ways she can help you achieve your organizational goals. 

The real issue here isn't your boss, but your workload, your priorities, and your morale.  Have you listened to the Juggling Koan podcast?  

One last thought:  I'm guessing she's a high I and you're a high C.  Brush up on DISC to improve your communications with her.  

John Hack

KS180's picture

Thanks Jhack for the feedback.  The workload is definitely an issue and she doesn't want to hear it even though I have the metrics to show the workload is 2 -3 times what it was three years ago.

I have listened to the Koans but will give renewed emphasis on the DISC discussion.

Thank you!

Jrlz's picture

I does sound like your boss is a high I for sure.  One technique I have used with high I colleagues (although none were my boss) was to visit them between meetings or on the way somewhere.  This way they get to have that time to talk with you and you have a valid excuse for cutting it short.  For example: stop in to see your boss at his or her office and start off by saying "I was just on my way over to...."  This way when you need to cut things short you have an excuse.  You should listen to the series on the DISC model and pay attention to the high I one. 

Also, remember you need to build a strong relationship with your boss and perhaps spending a little more time with him or her than you can afford to will pay off in the long run. 

tomjedrz's picture
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First of all, enough about the workload .. it quickly becomes nothing but whining, particularly when brought up around unrelated issues. 


You should be able to use the "manage your time" feedback to your advantage here. When the conversation start, note the next half hour marker.  Then, 5 minutes before that marker, mention that you are trying to manage your time well, and have time blocked out at (next half hour) to work on X so that you will meet the deadline Y. 

Speak softly, politely, with a smile on your voice.

"Sorry to interrupt Joan, I am not trying to be rude. Can we start to wrap this up?  I am working on managing my time better, and I have a block planned at 2 to work on the Widget, Inc. proposal, which must be to them tomorrow at Noon."

"Joan, can we continue this while we walk? I have to go see Glen about the Harris acquisition before he leaves for the day.  I am planning to work on it tomorrow morning so that we make the Friday deadline."

"Joan, I am enjoying the conversation but I can we cut to the chase? I am trying to stay ahead of the Johnson tornado, and need to get some solid time on it this afternoon."

Softly,  pleasantly, with a smile and not even a hint or resentment or irritation.

She'll get it eventually.

asteriskrntt1's picture

EVER gives feedback or tries to manage up the chain.  You are not going to change your boss's behaviour, so do not use this feedback advice.  Study DISC big time. It works miracles.

Listen to JHack.  He is one of the most experienced and insightful managers we have here.  And given his travel and work requirements, we are fortunate he makes time to post at all anymore.  Thanks John. 

* My own high D, high I story.  I dealt with a few who just wouldn't stop talking.  They love to talk fast.  I purposely slowed down my speech when responding to them. Drove them nuts but they had no idea why and they ended the conversations.  Your mileage may vary.