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Working with an unavailable boss

by on
in Office Management,Records Retention

Kate works for a boss who’s so busy that she can’t buy face time with him unless she walks (or sprints) down the hall with him en route to his next meeting. They occasionally meet one on one, but his travel and meeting schedules are so jam-packed that it’s a rarity. This makes it difficult to do her job, and Kate’s also worried her boss won’t know that she’s doing good work.

The solution: Adapt to the boss’s preferred form of communication, and be inventive in your approach. A few tactics:

Update weekly by e-mail. Break it into three sections: Achievements, Planned Actions and Where I Need Help/Input. List what you’ve
done for each person you support, including regular tasks (made appointments, processed invoices, etc.) and special projects.

Bonus: Your boss can put your weekly checklist into your personnel file, so that when it’s annual-review time, he can detail what you’ve accomplished. Keep a copy in your files for the same reason.

Meet over lunch regularly. Since you both have to eat anyway, set up an every-other-week lunch meeting to discuss projects and priorities. This
also affords you the opportunity to talk more broadly about career goals.

Request a “real time” meeting. Most people hate it when someone asks for “just a minute” but takes 20. Avoid irking your boss: Ask for
precisely the time you need. Appeal to the boss’s priorities, when making your request. Know that he cares deeply about a certain project? Tell him you can beat the deadline, if he could answer a few questions during a 15-minute meeting.

Update your boss’s preferences for staying in touch. Once a year, ask: “What one aspect of how I’m communicating with you would you change?”

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