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Manage an absentee boss

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in Workplace Communication,Workplace Conflict

While some people dream of a hands-off manager, if yours rarely provides you with directions, feedback or clarification, it can make your job difficult. If you are struggling because you barely interact with your supervisor, take these steps:

1. Look at the situation objectively. Are your actions causing the disconnect? For example, have you indicated to your boss that you prefer less micromanaging? Have you let your boss know that you would like more interaction?

2. Be empathetic. Your boss is human and may be having a tough time. Perhaps he or she is dealing with unrealistic expectations and other issues. Maybe he or she is completely overwhelmed. The lack of communication could be justified, and it may be temporary.

3. Make your concerns known. Your boss may be so busy that he or she doesn’t realize there is a problem. Request some face time with your supervisor, and explain how you feel. Don’t use accusatory language or point fingers. Simply state that you are worried about the lack of communication.

— Adapted from “Get What You Need From Your Hands-Off Boss,” Sara Stibitz, Harvard Business Review, www.hbr.org.

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