image of a coffee cupIf aliens were to secretly visit our planet to observe our advanced leadership and management techniques, they might reasonably conclude that the “right to talk” in most situations, was reserved for the individual in charge.

Play leadership anthropologist in your own organization and chances are you’ll find a good number of these en-titled characters who are compelled to consume every possible molecule of oxygen and every moment of air-time to share their self-defined pearls of wisdom and precious nuggets of managerial and inspirational gold.

Much like that last sentence, the word count of these overly talkative leaders quickly spirals out of control similar to the runaway reaction in a Lithium-Ion battery (sorry Boeing) leaving people desperate to pull the escape hatch and sprint or slide for better air.

If you happen to work for someone who clearly consumes verbal diuretics and suffers an excessive outflow of spoken waste, consider “sharing” the guidance below. While I would never advocate sending this from your co-worker’s computer, unless you really don’t like her, consider printing it, clipping the letter below and casually taping it to the boss’s computer screen. Wear gloves.

A Letter to Our Overly Talkative Boss:

Dear Boss,

You talk too much, say too little and you don’t listen at all

Just for today, please shut-up and listen harder to what we have to say. You might hear some good ideas.

Quit trying to prove that you’re smarter than everyone in the room. It’s not a contest. You’re in charge. We get it.

Ask us questions instead of barking commands. You would be surprised at our thoughtfulness on supporting this business.

Ask us our opinions. Yes, we all have them, but given your communication style, it’s unlikely that you’ve heard our views on problems or opportunities.  And by the way, asking our opinions is a sign of respect.

Show us that you’re interested in our opinions and ideas by asking more questions.

Recognize that my pause before answering your question doesn’t require you to fill it with the words you want to hear from me. I’m collecting my thoughts.

Use your ears and mouth in direct proportion. (That’s 2:1).


Your Speech and Oxygen Deprived Team Members.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

Seriously, shut-up and listen. Ask questions and listen. And then do something with what you heard. You’ll love the results.

More Professional Development Reads from Art Petty:book cover: shows title Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development by Art Petty. Includes image of a coffee cup.

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An ideal book for anyone starting out in leadership: Practical Lessons in Leadership by Art Petty and Rich Petro.