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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

boss constantly misses our meetings

A reader writes:

I work as analyst at a nonprofit organization in the IT department. One of the things my project manager has asked me from the beginning when we started working was to have a bi-weekly status meeting. For the first couple of months, these meetings were happening on time and scheduled. Lately for the last 6 months, my manager keeps rescheduling and saying he'll get to another time but never does. It makes me feel like my time isn't important enough to him.

Should I mention something to him or just let this slide?

Definitely mention it! But give him the benefit of the doubt about what's going on; he's probably not putting you off because he thinks your time is unimportant, but rather because he hasn't stopped to consider the impact on you.

Talk to him. Tell him that getting a chance to talk every two weeks is important to you, and ask if there's a way to have the meetings happen more reliably. Would it help to change the day they're scheduled for? Or would he be more able to make them happen if you both committed to a particular day without nailing down a specific time period, so that he has a larger window of time to make them happen? Or something else?

You can also be more assertive about following up when the meeting doesn't happen. The day after a missed meeting, go back to him: "Jim, we didn't get a chance to meet yesterday. Do you have a few minute to talk this morning?"

Sometimes people just need to be reminded about things like this, or hear that it matters to you. For all we know, he may be assuming that you're relieved to have fewer meetings. He also might have concluded that you have things under control and is deliberately being more hands-off with you because he trusts you -- but if so, the two of you should get aligned on that, so you're not left to wonder what's going on.

Talk to him.


Ideas With A Kick said...

I would first ask myself if it is really necessary for the boos to be at the meetings, but given the fact that these are status meetings and he is the manager, I think in this case the answer is self evident.

So YES, I would tell him. And I would find an honest yet polite way to say it, accentuating the importance of him being there and how it relates to our/my needs.


Anonymous said...

Weekly status meetings serve many purposes. If you can't get the manager to meet with you, then email him your completed and open projects list, adding any items that require approval for continuation. This protects you in the future (think yearly appraisal) and also keeps the lines of communication open - even if it is only a one way conversation.