The Boss Who Misses Meetings
To best describe this particular Boss from Hell, I’ll quote from an email I received:
“I have a great boss. The one problem I have with her is that she quite often misses our meetings. She keeps meetings with everyone else, but she seems very comfortable continually postponing meetings (with me), or just not showing up until a considerable time later… Quite often I can’t proceed forward with a project without her input so my work is held up.”
It’s interesting – and not coincidental – that virtually everyone who has described a boss like this to me also described them as being otherwise “great” people to work for.
These are bosses who are often exceptionally busy – juggling a number of projects, and trying desperately to keep all the balls in the air. They know that, with all of the things they’re doing, they’re likely to drop one or two. These are bosses who need a “go-to” person – someone they can trust – to pick up the pieces when things go sideways. That’s where you come in.
If you have had bosses like this, chances are one of the things you like the most about them is that they generally trust you and your judgment. They’re not missing meetings with you because they don’t respect you. Quite the opposite. They believe that, of all the people they work with, you’ll understand, and will be able to cope with it.
Armed with this assumption, here’s a strategy you might want to try:
Be assertive. Think of yourself as the nurse who barges into the hospital room to give patients their medicine. Catch them alone, and walk in with your biggest smile. Make sure you have all the material you need with you and say “I need you for xx minutes to answer some questions on this project – then I’ll be out of your hair, I promise.” Don’t take no for an answer. You may be very surprised at how positively they’ll respond.