Dealing with a Lack of Feedback from Your Boss
Ever felt like you’ve been given an assignment at work and then gotten no feedback on your performance? Ever been left to find work for yourself for weeks on end? Perhaps you’ve experienced all the symptoms of neglect that come from a boss who gives you no feedback. A common problem as offices become more individual, employee neglect doesn’t have to be a reality. In fact, a lack of communication may not be entirely the boss’s fault. Many rifts are caused when we as employees fail to let our supervisors simply fail to give our supervisors all the information they need to know about the work we’ve been doing.
A co-worker once told me a story about communication it work. As a student, he was monitoring computer systems for the military, and because he worked different shifts than his boss, he rarely saw him. One day when they were on the job together, his boss asked him to update some data. He was in the middle of a game of Tetris (which probably wasn’t a great thing to be doing at work anyway) and so merely said, “OK,” and went back to playing. What he didn’t tell his boss was that he had already done the job and the computer was merely processing. Though thankfully he wasn’t fired or severely disciplined, the story illustrates an important point. While we may be quick to blame our bosses for poor communication, our own faults are often at the heart of the matter. Before we ask our supervisors to give us more feedback, we need to be sure we’re giving them proper feedback on what we’re doing.
If you’ve made sure you’re telling your boss how your projects are coming and you still feel like he or she is neglecting you, gently ask for feedback. This isn’t as bad as it may seem—many bosses will be happy with your desire to ensure you’re doing a good job. Be careful, however, to not give the impression that you can’t do a single iota of work without getting your boss’s approval, for he or she will probably not enjoy doing so. Scheduling a weekly or periodic meeting with your boss where you review your plans for the upcoming week and results from the previous week is a very good way to bolster communication. Remember, if you can show your boss that you will work better with more information, he or she will have little choice but to give you more input. After all, what’s best for the company should be what’s best for you, and vice versa.