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Overshared with your boss? This is how transparent you should be

What is okay to share with your boss and what isn’t? (Picture: Getty)

Some of us keep to ourselves, and others are open books.

But if you’re an oversharer, it’s likely that keeping the details of your life on the down low is simply not an option.

From sharing your itemised ASOS order, to explaining exactly what happened on that first date, ‘private’ isn’t in your dictionary.

But when it comes workplace relationships, being a natural oversharer can be tricky – especially if you consider yourself chums with your boss.

What is okay to share and when does it become TMI? And, can you share things with your manager outside of work, and expect it not to impact your professional life?

Most importantly what should you do if you feel you’ve overstepped with the person who cuts your pay cheques?

It’s all about balance (Picture: Getty Images)

Liz Villani is the founder of #BeYourselfAtWork, a global movement dedicated to creating a new narrative about the way we work.

She says that when it comes to your relationship with your boss, it’s all about that balance between ‘authenticity and openness, and professionalism.’

What you should share with your boss

Firstly Liz says, it’s okay to share how you feel. ‘In fact, not enough people share how they feel. Whether it’s that they’re excited or they’re tired,’ Liz tells Metro.

It’s also important to share your ideas and aspirations.

Liz says: ‘Have the courage to do that. So many of us don’t share our aspirations and then we wonder why others are promoted ahead of us.’

Some people may have a tendency to keep their personal challenges to themselves in the office, but Liz stresses that it’s okay to share them if they affect your work.

‘If you’re not feeling yourself on the day, people might interpret that differently, so if there’s something that’s happened outside of work let them know.’

It’s okay to share a personal struggle with your boss if it is impacting your work (Picture: Getty Images/Maskot)

What you should never share with your boss

The number one thing Liz says we should avoid sharing is ‘a rant for the sake of it’.

She says: ‘You will appear to lack self-awareness and seem as though you’re not in control of what you’re doing.

‘Problem solving is fine, but a rant for the sake of it is just going to waste time and make you appear negative.’

Another no no is gossip. It can be tricky, who doesn’t love sharing a secret or two from time to time?

But Liz says: ‘Never share gossip about others. There’s enough of that toxicity going on already. If they start the gossip then change the subject.’

Self deprecation is another thing you should never practice in front of your boss.

Liz says: ‘Never put yourself down in front of your boss. You wouldn’t buy your favourite brand if they said, “by the way we’re dreadful”, so you won’t get promoted at work if you do that.

‘Big yourself up don’t put yourself down.’

Liz’s top tip for communicating with your boss:

Never use your boss’s name in a question or when asking them to do something.

For example if your boss is called Jeff, don’t say “Jeff, I’d like you to think about this” or “what do you mean, Jeff” because it can become quite aggressive and confrontational.

Should you share your personal life with your boss?

Liz thinks it’s okay to ‘blur the lines with the personal life’.

‘A real relationship at work means that you can talk about all kinds of challenges that are happening in the work place and you have that trust between you,’ explains Liz.

‘That trust often comes from knowing a little bit more about each other and spending more time together.

‘It would be quite unusual for you to not know a little bit about your boss – their partner’s name or their children’s names – and the same goes for the other way round.’

Liz adds: ‘If you’re saying, “I went on this date last night, I think he’s really great, should I see him again on Friday?” then your boss could be quite touched to have you share that with them.’

Can you share more with your boss outside of the office?

If you go outside of work and you’re with your work colleagues, my advice would always be to be yourself,’ says Liz.

‘But be the best version of you. The people in that room are still your colleagues, they’re going to promote you – those things don’t change because you’re outside of work.’

And if you perhaps get a bit messy in front of your boss on a night out and you both have to be in work the next day, don’t moan about it.

Liz says: ‘The positive practice would be, “oh my goodness I had a big night last night but I’m still all over it today”.’

You can share more with your boss than you think (Picture: Getty Images)

What to do if you’ve overshared

Liz says the first thing to ask yourself is, ‘have I really overshared?’.

‘We are all really good at overthinking,’ says Liz. ‘We all worry. We can’t let it go, and it’s going round and round in our minds, because we are all self-conscious on the inside.

‘We can make a mountain out of a mole hill really quickly, but the reality might be very different.

‘You might be thinking you’ve overshared, but have you? Because actually, you can probably share more with your boss than you think, without it being detrimental, because that’s just being human and being authentic.

‘Often your perception becomes amplified and it’s not the reality of the situation.’

So once you’ve worked out if it really is an issue, what do you do if you really have had some word vomit in front of your superior.

‘If you feel like you have overshared, and it’s a negative, the best thing to do is apologise,’ advises Liz.

‘If you’ve overshared you feel like you’ve been inappropriate or disrespectful, the best thing you can do is say what made you over share.

‘Maybe say “I was tired, I wasn’t thinking” or “I had too much to drink”, “I had a long day and I was really worried about something and it won’t happen again”.

The Liz says, ‘just let it go’.

‘Draw a line under it. Almost every single person at some point in their career will have said or done something that they regretted,’ she adds.

‘If you let it sit within you then you’ll worry even more about how you come across, you’ll become less authentic and less engaged and excited.’

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