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HOW CAN I COAX MY BOSS OUT OF CHAIRING MEETINGS? I often chair meetings in my boss's absence. While he indulges the wafflers and whiners, I hold short meetings where we actually manage to get things decided.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Several team members have individually told me that they find it much more productive when I chair meetings, and that they'd like me to chair more. How can I suggest this to my boss in a way that doesn't sound like I'm stepping on his toes? He sees chairing meetings as a mark of his seniority, and is likely to take my suggestion the wrong way.

Q: Is your boss as close to retirement as he sounds as if he ought to be? With any luck, he'll be out of your way within a month or two. But there's always the hideous possibility that he's one of those deeply-middle-aged-self-important-and-still-under-40 people; in which case a plan is necessary.

I suggest you play to his vanity. Tell him that you and your team would benefit even more from his wisdom and experience if he'd agree to work at a slightly higher level. First, you and your team thrash out the tedious detail and iron out the obvious problems; and then - and only then - you present your plans to him as the higher authority. He might find an analogy with the House of Commons and the House of Lords to his liking. Worth a go, anyway.

Please address your problems to Jeremy Bullmore at: Management Today, 174 Hammersmith Road, London W6 7JP. Or e-mail: management.today@haynet.com. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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