When your manager won’t talk to you!
When your manager won’t talk to you! Sadly, there seem to be a good number of managers who have problems talking to their staff. I don’t mean the exchange of every day courtesies like Good Morning and Good Night. Although, there seem to be some who have problems uttering those simple phrases on a regular basis. What I want to talk about here is the manager who doesn’t tell you what she really thinks about your work.
If the manager says nothing, it can be very frustrating. It increases pressure and can lead to stress. You think you are doing OK, but you have no real way of knowing whether your manager agrees.
The “boss” may be pleasant. She comes in everyday and wishes you good morning. She might even ask how you are doing. But there is no real engagement. She doesn’t encourage you to give anything but the most perfunctory of answers. And she certainly doesn’t comment on the quality of your performance. Meanwhile, you are desperate to know what she really thinks and you’ve begun to suspect the worst.
This situation can feel totally demoralising. So, what can you do?
Manager won’t talk to you – here’s what to do.
Well, you have to grasp the nettle and ask for the feedback that isn’t being volunteered.
Here is how to go about it.
First, gather your own evidence about your performance, for example, samples of your work, feedback from customers and statistics about results. Then, think about the questions you want to ask and how you are going to ask them; you don’t want to alienate your boss, if you can avoid it.
Now, ask for some time to talk. Choose your moment carefully – avoid times when your boss is likely to be under pressure or, for example, about to go to an important meeting. Make sure you get the appointment into the boss’s diary and that there is enough time for a proper discussion. Ideally, you need at least 30 minutes but not before, or immediately after, an event on which your boss needs to concentrate.
At the meeting, make sure you emphasize that it is your boss’s interests, as well as your own, that you care about. You want to make sure that you are doing the job the boss needs you to do. Avoid getting into arguments or being confrontational. Use the evidence you have collected; particularly, if you face any criticism you consider unjustified.
You are likely to pleasantly surprised; your boss is probably very happy with what you’re doing. But, if she isn’t, you need to be told that so that you can begin to put things right. Whatever the real situation, there is nothing to be gained by not knowing. Grasp that nettle and help your boss to help you succeed.
Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link