Office Politics 101: Let’s talk about me — again

There’s a woman in our office who is totally self-absorbed. She’s quite a good worker but is only interested in talking about herself.

Q: Tere’s a woman in our office who is totally self-absorbed. She’s quite a good worker, but only interested in talking about herself. People are beginning to distance themselves from her and I think she’ll soon become isolated. Any ideas for me?

A: If we are candid, most of us enjoy telling others of our experiences and accomplishment: in fact, dominating a conversation can be quite attractive! We realize, of course, that such an approach will reveal our narcissism and will ultimately turn off our listeners.

Social sensitivity is a sign of maturity and will often reveal how we are able to communicate effectively in a group setting. Children, in general, lack social sensitivity and can be expected to use every opportunity to garner maximum attention.

Adults who exhibit self-importance to the extent that virtually every conversation is about them may be revealing some deeper issues that are not readily apparent but nonetheless significant.

She could be lonely with a limited circle of friends outside of work. Her evening hours may be spent alone, perhaps in front of the TV or computer, and so she looks forward to chatting with co-workers at the office.

She may have low esteem and has received little or no nurturing from family members. Her desire to receive notice, therefore, is her attempt — though unsuccessful — to promote her value as a person to others.

If she is married, it is possible that her husband is absent for much of the time, so she literally has no one talk to except at the workplace. She is “making up for lost time,” by directing virtually all of the attention to herself.

Is she aware that she is “totally self-absorbed,” as you put it?  My guess is she is under the illusion that her conversational style is quite engaging and that her stories are fascinating to co-workers.

Colleagues, no doubt, appear courteous and she has probably received the message that her domineering style of dialogue is acceptable.  Unless she is alerted to their aversion, she will continue on the same course.

While it will almost certainly be painful for her, someone needs to speak with her informally – and sensitively – as soon as possible.  If you are up for the challenge, pick a time when just the two of you can speak confidentially.

Identify your concern and don’t add to the pain by stating you are speaking for others.  Recommend she become more aware of her conversational style and encourage her to listen more.  A recent personal example may be helpful.

This employee needs to be treated with compassion – as she is probably hurting to some extent – but she also needs to correct her conduct for the good of the office. Your intervention will be appreciated by everyone but be careful not to undermine what little confidence she has.

Submit your confidential questions relating to work and office life to simon@officepolitics101.com

 

Just Posted

CSRD hosting open house regarding landfill

There will be an open house February 1 at the Golden and District Recreation Centre hosted by CSRD.

Wayne Stetski and Forest Products Association of Canada CEO visit Golden

MP Wayne Stetski and Forest Products Association of Canada CEO Derek Nighbor toured LP Mill.

New massage clinic in Golden

A new massage clinic opened in Golden to help ease those aches and pains.

Hockey commentator gets his start

Lukas Pfisterer is just 12-years-old, but already making his mark as a commentator.

New Glade ferry enters testing phase

The Glade II will be able to carry heavier loads and will emit less greenhouse gases.

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

Most Read