The relationship we have with our boss is, as long as we’re working for them, fundamental to our world. Sometimes it can be a very simple, honest, open and healthy relationship. Sometimes it can be quite complex. The complexity comes from the very nature of human relationships where both of us might be quite complicated people and we are not completely open and transparent with each other about our work and our wider life. We don’t share our emotions very much either. Within this context it is quite possible your boss doesn’t always tell you what’s going on. Here are some examples of situations where that might happen.
1. Things Aren’t Going Well
Bosses are naturally further up the organisational hierarchy than us and so can see further forward in terms of the employer’s direction of travel. They’re more in the know about how things are going. If things are not going well, they may well not tell you because they’re trying to protect you.
2. Redundancies are Looming
If there’s a possibility of staff cuts, again they may not tell you that because they’re trying to protect you and/or themselves. People naturally do not like giving bad news or letting on that bad news is ahead.
3. A Colleague’s About to Get Bad News
If a colleague close to both of you is to be disciplined or let go, the boss may not tell you. They may feel this is too close to home, and so try to put an emotional boundary around you.
4. There’s an Opportunity for You to Move On
If there’s a really good opportunity that exists for you elsewhere in the company, they may not want to tell you for fear you will leave their team. Maybe you’re too important to them and they’re protecting their own position by not informing you. It happens quite regularly. It takes a strong manager or leader to let people go, particularly when those people are good team members.
5. You’re Doing a Good Job
Sometimes you come across bosses who are never able to say “thank you”. These same people often find it hugely difficult to praise somebody, not just in the moment but when it comes to a more formal review. Maybe they’re holding back because their hard on themselves or they find being a manager difficult.
6. Something Unexpected Has Just Happened
Managers have to live through the day-to-day ups and downs of organisational life. Not all of them cope well with the levels of excitement and emotion that come with managing people. Changes can happen by the hour as well as by the day or the week, so managers can find it difficult to share or to be open in the middle of that.
7. They’re Leaving the Organisation
A boss may not tell you that they’re leaving the company. Maybe they’ve been asked by their own boss not to talk about it but to instead let the employer comment when it is ready. Again the reason is going to be that they’re primarily thinking about you and the impact it will have on you.
8. They’ve Been Promoted
Maybe they’ve been promoted and are leaving your team but staying within the company. In a way that can be even harder for you to take than them leaving the business altogether, because you’ve lost them to someone else within your own organisation.
9. They’re Struggling
A good boss will always expect you to feel comfortable coming to them with a problem, but they may not feel it works both ways in a boss-subordinate relationship. They represent the organisation to you and don’t want to be seen as tarnishing the employer’s reputation by burdening you with their own troubles. It can be hard for people in management jobs to handle potentially emotional situations like this.
10. There are Learning Opportunities Available
In this day and age, you have to take responsibility for your own career path and that may well include learning and development. Even if your employer has a L&D programme, your boss will not necessarily put it on a plate for you. If you want this kind of manager to help you continuously develop your skills, you’ll have to ask them outright.
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