What Should I Do About My Boss’s Memory Loss?

Our new CEO has been at our nonprofit for approximately six months. As the director of HR, the vice presidents and I went to our board with concerns regarding our new leader and his memory issues. He can’t remember the decisions he makes. For instance, he will instruct us to do things a certain way and then question why we do things that way two weeks later. There is no recollection that there were conversations and that he made the decision. He will argue if you tell him there was a discussion. I know there’s such a thing as a fitness-for-duty test, but these are usually centered around physical fitness. Where do I go from here?


To read my answer, click here: What Should I Do About My Boss’s Memory Loss?

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4 thoughts on “What Should I Do About My Boss’s Memory Loss?

  1. I had a manager with “memory issues”. It turns out she had a benzodiazepine addiction. She kept her job, and I got a 6 month severance for reporting it to HR.

  2. We had a manager like that, except I don’t think it was memory loss as much as a rather fluid way of thinking. She would decide to do A today, and tell us that, and then later change her mind about the efficacy of A and decide that doing B would be better. But she wouldn’t mention her change of heart until the next formal meeting. By that time she had so internalized B that she was astonished that we weren’t doing it, and would chide us. One of the project managers got fed up with this behavior and made her sign a “we will do A” contract. When the manager did her typical switch to B and scolding, the PM brought out the contract with a flourish and said, “You told us to do A.” “Oh, that,” she said dismissively. “That’s just wrong. Do B, and while you’re at it, rewrite that paper and you can bring it to me to sign if you want.” Management by whim.

  3. As the two previous commenters stated it all depends on the company’s view of this person in their role in the company. You as the employee don’t have any right to question their decision to keep this person despite their problematic effect on your work. Either deal with it like everyone else or leave. Rocking the boat and complaining about it will serve you no good in the long run.

  4. If my boss started showing these symptoms I would start writing down every decision he makes in an e-mail, to him and anyone else who was present. Then if the e-mails do not put the brakes on his reversals I will at least have evidence that I can show to HR or his boss when he escalates matters to them.

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