I’ve wanted to ask you a question ever since I read your post where the boss asked an employee for feedback, the employee answered honestly the boss blew up at her.
I work for a boss I really like. He’s the ultimate nice guy, but doesn’t take care of himself. He doesn’t exercise, especially since the gym’s now closed down, and he doesn’t eat right.
He’s at least 60 pounds overweight and I’ve watched his weight steadily climb since the March. I know his weight isn’t my problem or my business, but I really like him and consider him a friend.
I don’t want to offend him, but he’s of an age where if he doesn’t take care of himself, he won’t be around to enjoy life ten years from now. How do I get through to him without offending him? He hasn’t asked me for my opinion or even brought the topic up, so do I just keep my mouth shut?
Your boss probably knows he has a problem. What you need to realize is how very hard it is to turn around a sixty-pound weight problem and the degree to which he might feel judged by you, particularly as his exercise and eating behaviors are personal and outside normal workplace boundaries.
So tread softly and non-judgmentally, realizing your boss may indeed be at a tipping point, where changing his ways has become exponentially harder. When a person has sixty pounds of excess weight, exercise becomes harder, and food, normally a comfort, becomes a trap.
Instead, offer to come alongside him. If you two are really friends, invite him along with a third person on long walks. Bring carrots or apple slices into the office and offer to share them. Don’t tell him exercise or eating right are for his own good; simply say it’s something you enjoy and thought he might too.
If these overtures lead into conversation initiated by him, choose your words wisely. There’s a world of difference between “you have a face that could stop a clock” and “when I look at your face, time stands still”.
Note: if other readers are curious about the post this blog guest referenced, it’s “My boss asked for feedback and I told the truth. Big mistake. What now?” and can be seen at https://bit.ly/3klBqar. © 2020, Lynne Curry
Lynne Curry is the author of “Beating the Workplace Bully” (AMACOM, 2016, https://amzn.to/30V5JO6) and “Solutions”, https://amzn.to/2GYlnAN (both books are rated 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com). Send your questions to her at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit her @ www.communicationworks.net or follow her on twitter @lynnecurry10.