Dealing with a disconnected supervisor is one of the biggest challenges you can face as an employee. Your boss might forget about assigned projects or even double-book you for two tasks at the same time. You might get very little direction, and your supervisor may not have your back when you need it. Worst of all, you might find yourself constantly scrambling to pick up the pieces and get projects back on track. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself in this situation.
Put It in Writing
Switching to written communication can help you keep things on track. Whenever you have questions or concerns, send a thoughtfully written and tightly edited email. Hopefully, your boss will respond in kind, giving you a paper trail that can help clear up confusion later.
You probably have a lot of questions for your disconnected supervisor, but discussing too many things at once will only overwhelm them. Create a written list of the three or four most important talking points, and stick to your list. If your boss starts veering in a different direction, gently redirect the conversation.
Offer to Help
You can make your supervisor’s life easier, as well as your own, by offering to help out. Are there projects you are qualified to lead? Do you have ideas on how to make a specific process run more smoothly? Try to become your supervisor’s trusted go-to person, and you may be able to fix some of the problems yourself.
Know When to Move On
Sometimes, it simply isn’t worth trying to work with a disconnected supervisor. This is especially true if you start getting blamed for their mistakes or if they try to claim all the credit for your accomplishments. Know your worth, and don’t stay too long in a toxic environment. Assess what you’ve learned in your role, and be ready to talk about it in future job interviews.
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