My boss is a great guy. Probably my favorite boss I've ever had, both professionally and personally. There is one thing that's very strange about him. At work, he often uses "baby-talk" phrases. Here are a few examples of phrases I've heard him use in the last several weeks:
- "Potty" instead of "Bathroom/Restroom"
- "No-No" instead of "Not allowed"
- "Oopsie Poopsie" instead of "Mistake"
- "Uh-oh Spagetti-Oh's" instead of "Shoot/Dang/etc."
- "Went Boom" instead of "Fell Down" (when referring to his elderly mother who fell and broke a hip)
People are constantly making fun of him behind his back. I am 90% sure that he's not trying to being funny/cute, because he never smiles, grins, or looks for a reaction. He just keeps talking like it's a normal conversation. It's like he's oblivious to the fact that it's not professional.
Just last week, we were on some meeting with upper management, and he made some comment like "The team is doing a great job coding in a new language, but inevitably a few oopsie poopsies happen." I cringed so hard when he said that.
If it matters, he is native to the US, so I don't think it's a matter of him coming from another culture. He also doesn't have kids. From what I've pieced together, I think he just led a very sheltered life.
Is it inappropriate for me to tell him this isn't professional, or is that overstepping my bounds? I want to help him out because I really like the guy, but I also doesn't to be unprofessional myself.
So, this post has gotten the interest of some of my coworkers. (Apparently, this came in their recommendations on the side when they were looking at Stack Overflow for some coding questions).
Long story short, one of my peers was inspired by this post, and brought to my manager's attention how people were making fun of his "baby talk" phrases behind his back. From how she tells it, my manager was super appreciative and said he had no idea that those phrases were seen as unprofessional.
Later today, he had a short meeting with everybody on the team (minus my coworker mentioned above). He said he was really disappointed with us that we never gave him feedback on his communication style, even though he regularly asks us for feedback in general. (He didn't specifically call out the use of baby-talk phrases, but it fairly clear what he was referring to). I've never seen him so angry before.
So unfortunately, I'm worried now that my relationship with my boss will now be strained. We'll see where things go from here...