Boss Doesn’t Want To Communicate

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about boss’ neglect:

I’ve been at my present position with this company for a little more than a year and with this company for more than five year. When I first transferred over to my current department, there was a lot of communication between me and my new boss. However, as time went by, the communication got worse. I’m a self-starter and I work independently. Every now and then I will have a question that I need to ask him. However, now he never seems to have time to meet with me.

I do notice that he does make time to meet and talk to my co-workers, who do not report to him (I’m the only person who reports directly to him). We even have a scheduled weekly meeting, but he either is not at his office at the time of the meeting or is behind closed doors. The rest of the day will go by, and if I don’t mention the missed meeting, he won’t even acknowledge it.¬† At the rare times I do track him down for our weekly meeting, after about 5 minutes he’s grabbing his stuff and walking out of his office, an obvious indicator that the meeting is over, even though I hadn’t finished going over my questions, updates, etc.

If he was like this with everyone, I would just think that he’s really busy, etc. But he does make time for others and keeps those meetings.This is making me feel that either I’ve done something to upset him and he’s acting this way rather than talking to me about it, or he just doesn’t feel that my job is important enough for him to pay attention to. I’m not his assistant; he has an assistant. I’m in a position where I have many responsibilities and am a “go to” person for others in the company. I’m working towards management and hope to be in that type of position soon, but now I’m afraid that my boss may have an attitude towards me that will hold me back. I know I need to approach him with my concerns, but I’m not quite sure how to do it, especially since he won’t make any time for me to begin with. Thanks,

Signed, Frustrated

Dear Frustrated:

Although it may feel that you have done something wrong or that your boss feels that your job is unimportant, it is also possible, and even probable that he has great confidence in you and that you are doing such a good job, that it is something that he doesn’t have to worry about! His time with others may just indicate that those are areas that he has concerns with. Due to your aspirations for management, it offers a perfect opportunity for you to approach your boss to redefine your relationship. You may want to seek his assistance as a mentor to assist you with your aspirations. If this idea appeals to you, I would set up a meeting with him to express your interest in management and to lay out the groundwork for a mentoring relationship.

Let him know specifically what type of relationship you would like to have– How often you would like to meet and how important that would be to you, what types of feedback and support you would like, what types of additional assignments you might be able to take on to give you needed experience, and what contacts you should make for successful networking within the organization. If your boss doesn’t seem like the person you would like to be your mentor, ask him for names of others that might fit the role for you.

Having this conversation would not only get you farther along on the road to management, but might also give you further insight into your boss’s opinion of the job you are doing. If this plan seems like something you want to do, be persistent and make sure that both of you live up to your mentoring commitments. Good luck in your journey toward a management position. All the while, keep a positive mental attitude, one that embraces the good in you and others-that’s what our signature WEGO embraces.

Kolman Rosenberg