Here’s how to tell if your dismissive, uncommunicative boss is a quirky character, a poor manager, or has a personal problem with you.
You’ve been at your company for two years, and you think you’ve been doing a good job. You’ve been a team player during the pandemic and have kept things moving along smoothly. Your colleagues often come to you for advice or just to talk when they need a boost. Yet you’re having trouble connecting with the CEO or other executives in the C-suite. Is it your imagination, or does this person have a personal problem with you? Read on for the red flags to watch for and what you can do to improve the relationship.
Some of the signs that a manager or colleague has a problem with you:
- They actively avoid you in the office and/or ignore your emails or phone calls. While everyone is busy, your boss should take the time for occasional conversations, especially when you have something important to discuss. If you boss never has time for you, especially if he/she seems willing or even eager to interact with others, this could suggest a problem.
- They are unwilling to meet with you. You have tried repeatedly to schedule a one-one meeting to discuss your overall performance or talk about a specific project and your boss seems unwilling; or your supervisor refuses to meet with you but is openly critical of your performance.
- Their body language is hostile. Your boss won’t make eye contact with you, crosses his/her arms defensively during conversations, or keeps glancing at his/her phone while you talk.
- They micromanage you. Your boss doesn’t seem to trust you to do your work. He/she constantly questions your judgment, is constantly critical of your work, dismisses or mocks your ideas and suggestions, etc. Especially if he/she doesn’t seem to micromanage others, this could suggest your boss has a problem with you specifically.
- You’re not invited to important meetings or other events that others are included in. This suggests that your boss doesn’t value your input or thoughts and/or wants to keep you out of the loop.
Before you reach any conclusions about your boss, consider how he/she engages with others. If your coworkers or other team members have the same or similar experiences with this person, your supervisor could just be a less-than-warm/communicative person. If the person’s behavior seems to be directed at you, it could be a more personal problem. In either case, before you update your resume, consider a few steps:
- Briefly document what you are doing on a regular basis. Don’t give your boss any opportunities to misstate or dismiss your contributions to the team. Save emails or notes from others that compliment your performance.
- Ask to meet more regularly to go over your performance and how you can improve.
- Volunteer to be involved in various projects, especially those that others aren’t interested in or able to handle.
- Observe those who have a good relationship with the boss. How do they communicate? How do they approach conversations and situations differently than you do?
- Suggest ideas that will improve efficiency, safety, etc. and help increase the organization’s success.
If none of these steps work and it is affecting your performance and/or your wellbeing, think about scheduling a meeting with an HR or other leader. If this doesn’t produce results, consider if there are other opportunities in the company (with a different boss) you might pursue or if it’s time to move on.