Case Study: How to Get Support from an Absent Manager

July 18, 2022

Periodically, I invite a small group of early to mid-career professional women for breakfast and what I call, “Career Conversations.” I want to hear about the challenges they are experiencing in the workplace so that I can understand how to better serve them and others like them through my coaching and training.

The women who join me for this event are always very gracious as they share stories about their struggles and concerns; In turn, I offer guidance and help them come up with some new ideas for how to handle their situations.

As a new feature to my blog, I’d like to share some of their stories with you here as case studies. I’ll also share with you the advice I gave to help them in each situation. My hope is that you will find these conversations useful as well. I do have their permission, though I will use fictious names to respect their confidentiality.

Here is one of their stories:

Elizabeth has a manager who is consistently canceling meetings. She is frustrated because the manager is not providing enough direction for her to reach her sales goals.

The manager knew it was a new industry for Elizabeth when he hired her, so her asking for guidance was expected. However, the business has been growing, and he had less time to spend with her. When she reached out to him, his response was: “I am too busy because we are growing, so I don’t have time to meet with you.”

My advice:

I recommended that she send an email expressing why she needs his time.

During our discussion, we spent some of our time wordsmithing the email so that she had clear steps to move forward. Here is what we decided:

She should open the email by acknowledging the good news that the company is growing and that she can understand why his calendar is getting busier.

She should then state the reason she needs his help. For example, she might say: Since I am your only salesperson, I need you to help me understand best how to get the attention of new clients.

I also recommended that she include the following in her email:

  • What she has done to get herself acclimated to the new industry
  • What she has been doing to increase her knowledge of the industry
  • How she is broadening her network
  • How she is using LinkedIn to increase the company’s visibility.

These details will show her manager that she is not solely relying upon him to help her.

I also suggested she mention to her manager in a diplomatic way that since he has canceled the last three meetings, that they meet at a different time even if it means coming in early or staying late.

She should end the email expressing excited she is to see the company growing and that she wants to continue to be part of its success.

And finally, I suggested that in the future she should not wait too long to address concerns with her manager. This will enable the challenges to be rectified sooner and prevent them from growing out of hand.

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I hope you found this case study helpful! If you would like to participate in one of these “Career Conversations,” sign up for the wait list and you’ll be the first to know when I schedule my next one.

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