Anyone who has worked for a micromanager or struggled to please a perfectionist boss would be grateful to have even one day when the boss ignored them.
While having a boss who ignores you might be appealing to these employees, the truth is that the cold shoulder from a boss can also make your job more difficult. You may not have someone who constantly criticizes everything you do -- or redoes everything you do -- but the cold shoulder can be damaging to your career.
For example, if the boss is ignoring you because he doesn't think your contributions matter much, you could be vulnerable to a layoff. Or, if he is ignoring you because he doesn't like you, it could mean you won't be selected for interesting projects or considered for promotions. If the boss is ignoring you because he's an introvert and would rather spend time with his cat than with you, then you aren't getting the feedback you need to grow in your job and develop key skills.
The bottom line: Being ignored by the boss can hurt your ability to do your job effectively, and could derail future career plans.
If you feel you're being ignored by the your boss, it's time to:
- Take action. Don't overreact and slam drawers or huff in frustration when she walks by you without a word. Instead, be proactive and get some time on her calendar for a one-on-one meeting. Schedule about 15-20 minutes the first time, just to check in and give her a concise progress report.
- Ask questions. When you sit down with the boss, ask specific questions that only she can answer. Don't waste her time quizzing her on research you should be doing. Show the boss that you value her time.
- Be open. Some bosses ignore workers who they feel do not welcome feedback. Believe it or not, many bosses find it difficult to give feedback, and if you shut them down, they may back off for good. Let the boss know that you're open to what she has to offer, saying something like, "I know you've had experience in this area -- is there something I could be doing differently to get better results?"
While some workers might consider it a blessing that the boss ignores them, they're aren't thinking of the things they're missing by that lack of communication. Specifically, employees who are out of touch with their boss may not make key contacts; may be out of the loop on important company events; and won't grow in their jobs because they're not being challenged.
Remember that in your career, you have to try and learn as much as you can in each position so that you reach your potential. Don't let a negligent boss derail you.
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