How often have you sat in an informal get-together with your colleagues and ended up listening to your boss’s stories? Stories about his or her travel, family, pets, life incidents etc etc.
If the boss is good at communication, the stories are entertaining. Still they run the risk of irritation after a while.
It gets worse when the boss is not a good communicator. Boredom soon sets in, people start stepping out for a smoke or surreptitiously start looking at their phones.
When an employee tries to pitch in with his or her story, its heard for couple of moments, and conversation goes back to the boss!
I have been guilty of this! I can think of countless occasions when I dominated the conversations.
I often wondered the reason for this behavior displayed by leaders. They obviously know that such get-togethers are a wonderful opportunity to know their colleagues better. Still, they cannot get over the desire to talk about themselves.
What drives this behavior – monopolizing conversations with own stories?
A group of Harvard psychologists conducted interesting behavioral experiments and found answer to this.
Talking about ourselves—our subjective experiences, our thoughts, views – no matter how boring they are to others, are extremely rewarding to our brain. When we talk about ourselves, it triggers the same sensation of pleasure in the brain as food or money.
Watch this interesting 2.5 minutes video to know more about it.
It’s easy for leaders to monopolize the conversations as they have a captive audience.
Thus, it takes a leader of high self-awareness and self-control not talk about self, but to listen to others!