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Submitted by timbarcz on


BLUF: I'm getting very little (IMO) interaction/feedback/communication from my manager and I'm not certain the best way to approach.

I started in a new job with a new company about 90 days ago.  From the outside I thought this boss would be someone who I could learn a lot from - it is turning out that this isn't the case.

About 75-85% of emails I send get no response (written, verbal, or otherwise) - I'm not flooding his inbox - email about 1x per day.  Things like asking for meeting to review budgets/financial plans/etc - things I *need* to know to be successful. For example, just the other day he informs me the company has a project manager - I've been here for ~90 days and I have ~5 active products under my responsibility and one in a very active stage of development.

I understand being busy perhaps and the inability to answer email - but I came from a job where I had ~25 people in my organization and if I didn't answer an email I made it a point to talk to the person or connect someone with them who could answer their question.

What do you recommend? - I have no idea if I'm doing well or not in his eyes which as a high D, task completion and movement towards a goal is important to me.

Thank you in advance,


lindge's picture
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I don't think it's worth comparing him with yourself and getting frustrated.  You're different people operating in different ways and he's your manager.

That said, are you having 1on1s with him? Or at least regular update meetings where you can talk about these things? If not, request regular meetings - you can frame them as update meetings and also cover the key questions you have.  

Other things you can consider: 

1. There's a cast somewhere about whether your manager is a reader or talker (or something along those lines) - you might want to give that a listen and maybe email is just not the best way to communicate with him.

2. Have you listened through the DISC podcasts? Do you know what your manager is and are you targetting your communication accordingly?

3. Have you reached out to other people in the organization who can also help answer your questions? I realize you've been there for 90days, so relatively new, but other people can help you as well.  Don't limit the help to just your boss. Suggest going out to lunch, introducing yourself to people, finding out what others do etc. etc. - really just making contact with people to start building a network of relationships in the company that can help you be more organizationally aware and help bridge some of the information you are currently lacking.

Hope this helps

timbarcz's picture
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 I am not having one-on-ones, interestingly I've found I'm the only one of his directs that he is not having a one-on-one with.  Not a problem since my position is new but there is another new hire too that has moved in.  I don't want to read too much into it but it is a bit bothersome to see. I will look to add time to his calendar to give him updates.

Re: 1 - As for reader vs. talker, he's an avid reader, however, I send emails with no reply which leads me to question that theory of whether or not sending written briefs is useful or not.

Re: 2 - I've not yet been able to identify his disc personality, seems to me to be high D, high I but have not had enough time to observe or solidify that categorization

Re: 3 - I've gone out to lunch with several in the company and it's proven useful.  The strange thing is I have had more meaningful one-on-one conversations with the CEO than I have my boss.  Strangely meeting with others, I get very positive feedback, however I'd like confirmation on that from my boss and not through the (potentially political) grapevine.






svibanez's picture

Tim, my boss is very similar to yours and I do find myself frustrated by it at times.  I now recognize that it's MY frustration - the system seems to work just fine for him.  I decided to go directly to him when I have something important to discuss, or something I need an answer on right away.  There is never a "convenient" time to go see him so I just go.  If he's too busy to talk, he'll say so.  Otherwise, he'll listen and either answer or defer the decision to a later time.

The podcast on whether your boss is a reader or a listener was very helpful to me in this regard.  Pay attention to which form of communication gets you the results you need.  My boss appears to be a reader, but talking to him is the best way to get an answer to nearly any question.

After more than 10 years with very little feedback or direction, I took the next step and asked my boss for some direct input regarding what I do well, what I need to work on, and whether there were any fatal flaws I need to be aware of (there's also a 'cast for that).  I didn't expect him to answer directly, but he did.  And the input was very useful to me.

You may be able to leverage your short time at the company and ask for the strengths/needs improvement/fatal flaw discussion now, using the approach that you want to make sure you're on track to meeting his expectations.  This will clearly show him you're proactively working to do the best job you can - and what boss doesn't love that?

I wish you the best.


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timbarcz's picture
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 I took some of the info to heart and am thinking on other bits and the best way to approach (e.g. asking for feedback - I don't want 10 years - how the heck did you manage waiting that long?!?!).

I set up a meeting with my boss on his calendar (after looking at when his other one-on-ones are (in the afternoon)) and we had our first meeting today and it was 7 on scale of 10 - still didn't get feedback per se but did get a chance to talk through what the priorities are and what my team is working on.  Will be looking to build on that weekly.

svibanez's picture

I'm glad you didn't wait and let it fester.  You'll be much more effective more quickly by doing the professional updates until your boss starts scheduling the 1-on-1s.

I made it 10 years because I'm very highly driven and take a lot of pride (probably too much) in being self-sufficient.  I got great results and let that speak for itself - until I realized I had nobody in my corner if things were to head south.  I got out of that by self-enrolling in the Dale Carnegie course, followed by my discovery of Manager Tools.  M-T helped me understand my boss better, and led me to have the good/bad/ugly discussion with him.  Life has been much, much better since I learned how to develop good professional relationships.

I hope your relationship with your boss continues to improve.  Please keep us posted.


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