Maintaining workplace relationships is as crucial as ensuring that your work is flawless. Every organization has stringent rules in place for every employee in the organization. It is what makes them more productive and also ensures uniformity of conduct.
However, the dynamics between a superior and a junior employee can often change from time to time. This can cause some friction in the atmosphere and affect the quality of work. When employees feel that their boss is ignoring them, it can throw them off track. And yet, all such matters must be dealt with utmost caution. Being ignored or overlooked is hard to deal with and often leads to poor morale.
However, instead of feeling dejected, it is important to analyze why your boss is ignoring you and how you can set things straight so that you can go back to work with full potential and not jeopardize your workplace relationships. Here is what you can do.
Reasons Why Your Boss Might Be Avoiding You
The company culture should be such that your boss should support you every step of the way, guiding you through the mistakes you might have made and improving your skills. However, that does not happen. You might feel that your boss does not care anymore and ignores you altogether. Here are some reasons as to why that may be.
#1. Your Boss has a Lot on his Plate
To start with, there is a possibility that your boss is not avoiding you at all. He has a lot to do and too many responsibilities to shoulder, overwhelming them. Hence, just in case you have asked a question or written an email and failed to get a response, it might not be an intentional act.
Your boss might have forgotten about it, but there were other pressing matters they were looking into. In such cases, it is best to follow up once or twice before you feel that you are being ignored.
#2. Have More Faith in You
This might sound too optimistic, but it is often not. For example, some bosses feel that it is okay to let employees figure out some things by themselves, rather than supervising and monitoring them all the time.
Maybe they are more worried about the larger picture than picking out faults with every little thing the employee does. Hence, what you consider ignoring you, might be your boss’s way of handling things. But, on the other hand, your boss might also have other priorities, and they have more pressing matters at hand.
#3. Your Boss is Stressed
In most cases, when you feel ignored by your boss, it is not you, but just something that your boss is going through. Your boss, as your superior, has a lot more responsibilities to shoulder.
He or she might also be going through something in their personal lives that has them too distracted, and employee queries have just slipped his mind. It is common for everyone to feel a period of fatigue. This might be a temporary phase that will soon blow over.
How Should You Respond if You Think Your Boss is Ignoring You?
Despite it all, if you are certain that your boss is indeed ignoring you, then you should respond politely and with caution. Here is how you can handle the situation.
#1. Try to Understand the Reason
When you notice your boss is ignoring you, try to analyze your workplace behavior first. For example, have you repeated any mistake that your boss has already reprimanded you in the past? Have you made any remarks about your boss behind his or her back that they might have overheard?
Have you made any mistakes in your work that have resulted in your boss being reprimanded by even higher authorities in the organization? Or, have you come to know of anything about your boss’s life which you know might be affecting their concentration? Try to find answers to these questions, and you will get an idea if your boss is ignoring you.
#2. Be More Proactive
Some bosses like proactive and interested employees. It is just the way they are. So the easiest way to get their attention is to show more interest in your work. Your boss might be paying more attention to some of your colleagues than to you. Because your boss may feel your colleagues deserve more attention because of the effort they are putting in their work.
Try to show your boss that you are equally capable. You can do this by coming up with some new ideas, making cutting-edge presentations, taking more initiative at work, and participating more during the brainstorming sessions. Sometimes the easiest way to get your boss’s attention is to speak up, and you should evaluate if you are doing that.
#3. Be More Direct
Some bosses love to talk and mingle with everyone on the floor, while some bosses are more reserved. Your boss might be one of them. But, on the other hand, they might not be ignoring you- they do not speak unless spoken to. So, once you get to know this aspect of your boss, try to initiate a conversation.
Ask for help directly. Instead of simply writing an email, stop by the office and ask for help in person. Some people are more visual, and your boss might have to be made more aware of your presence. Once that happens, they might actively seek you out during the next project meeting.
#4. Be Positive in Your Attitude
Even if you feel that you are being ignored, do not let that get to you, and do not let your boss feel that you are dejected. They might have no idea about the reason behind your dejection. They might conclude you are not feeling motivated enough.
It is important to have a positive attitude during this phase. Your upbeat nature and zeal to work will surely attract your boss’s attention at some point.
#5. Schedule Meetings
One of the best ways to ensure that you are being heard is to schedule meetings with your boss. This is a great way to ascertain that you are involved with the project at hand, and you will also have a specific time with your boss to clarify your doubts.
Your boss will also be able to provide you with proper feedback for your work at the end of the meetings. In the same way, ensure that you always attend the team meetings that your boss schedules. Not only will you stay ahead of your work, but you can be sure that your boss will notice your presence and, likewise, your dedication to your work when you attend these meetings.
#6. Address the Problem
If you think that your boss is ignoring you because of some underlying conflict, then it’s better to resolve it by personally discussing it. Of course, how you approach the issue will depend on quite a few circumstantial factors. Still, when your manager notices you actively trying to make a positive impression, it will surely bring about positive results in turn.
When you try to speak to your boss about it, they will also get an opportunity to explain their perspective to you and their expectations from you. This is the first step towards building a healthy professional relationship with your superior.
How to Be Sure Your Manager is Indeed Avoiding You?
Here are some things you may observe to ascertain whether your boss is indeed avoiding you.
- Observe how your boss interacts with the other members of the team. Is he equally aloof towards all of them or just with you?
- When you speak to your boss directly, do they stop by to answer your queries or keep deferring the conversation indefinitely?
- Is there a lot of office politics at work here? Is your workplace as neutral as it is supposed to be, or have you noticed anomalies in professional relationships in other aspects as well?
- Have you climbed the ranks too soon, and is there a reason your boss might resent your sudden success and subsequent rise within the organization?
- Is your boss new to the organization and has trouble coping with the new workplace? Seniors often change organizations for better opportunities, but they too might have difficulties fitting in at first. In such cases, give your boss some time to settle in before reaching any conclusion.
When you start taking positive steps towards becoming a more dependable employee, your boss will surely notice the effort you are putting in. And to every manager, such employees become assets in the long run. So if your boss was indeed ignoring you, then this should put a stop to it. Instead, focus on the larger picture, your career, and becoming an asset to the organization. Before long, not just your immediate boss, but even the higher authorities will take note, and your efforts won’t go unappreciated.