my manager over-shares about his personal life and I want him to stop!

A reader writes:

I have been in my new job for about five weeks now with a very small service-providing firm of only about 10 employees. I am a director-level employee and report right to the COO.

Our COO is new in his role, but not new with the company. I get the feeling he does not have a lot of leadership experience, and he certainly has never led at this level before now. The issue is that he feels the need to share drama about his ex-wife, his two teenage daughter’s antics, and his current wife’s hatred of his ex-wife.  This sharing goes on and on when it occurs — and it occurs during meetings occasionally, where it is totally inappropriate and wastes valuable time.  Once in a while, we leave the office together at the end of the day, and I actually have stood outside waiting to walk to my car while he finishes another tale. He does this over-sharing with everyone, not just me.

I know I need to say something, but I do not want to appear insensitive.  How do I tell this guy to back off without making it seem like I am cold and heartless? I am comfortable initiating the conversation, but unsure of the approach.

You can read my answer to this question over at The Fast Track blog by Intuit QuickBase today.

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