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My manager for the past two years, who also promoted me to deputy manager a year ago, has suddenly stopped communicating with me since the last time I took a holiday. I tried to organize catch-ups, requested 1-on-1s and sent multiple update e-mails but all was ignored for the past three months. The only times he briefly talked to me was in department-wide remote meetings.

Note that his office is in a different country too, so we have very few ways to communicate. What worried me is that he didn't even reply to quite urgent matters.

The only other line of communication is another senior manager with whom we all work cross-functionally, and I get to speak with this latter one much more often.

I have read elsewhere that this kind of behavior may signal upcoming redundancies or reorganizations; however, I have been seen as the top performer and the company and team are both doing very well. This also makes me fear about some kind of unknown underground politics.

I have been trying very very hard to communicate, send e-mails, phone, distribute team- and company-wide communications - but I literally have heard no feedback from my manager for all these months.

What can I do?

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    Is it possible to copy your other senior manager on e-mail communications with your direct manager? From experience, I have found that copying other individuals, especially stakeholders, usually yields better results for responses as now they are not just ignoring one person, but two/three/etc. – SQLSavant May 24 '14 at 16:26
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My manager for the past two years, who also promoted me to deputy manager a year ago, has suddenly stopped communicating with me since the last time I took a holiday.

Assume good faith: Perhaps your manager simply has more duties since being promoted & the weight of it only hit him in the past few months. Assume it’s an honest issue & perhaps he is not responding to you because he actually trusts you & does not think any direct involvement is needed.

I have read elsewhere that this kind of behavior may signal upcoming redundancies or reorganizations; however, I have been seen as the top performer and the company and team are both doing very well. This also makes me fear about some kind of unknown underground politics.

Have you talked to human resources about this? It could be an honest issue that has nothing to do with politics. And it’s human resources job to help clear the air.

But if you are able to talk to a senior manager without issue, maybe they would be the best one to talk about this with.

But as I said, assume good faith & assume that the silence is connected to the change in managerial duties & increased truest in delegating duties to you.

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While it may have nothing to do with you at all (your manager may have hit a snag in his own professional or personal life), you should not ignore a sudden change in behavior.

First, you should probably attempt to address this specific issue with your manager, in a way that expresses genuine concern for improving communication and any issues he may have with your performance, for example: "I have noticed lately that a number of my emails to you have gone unanswered. I wanted to check in with you about whether there are issues with my performance or the way I am communicating that I should be aware of. If there is anything I should be doing differently, I would really appreciate knowing so that I can improve."

If this goes unanswered, then you probably need to go over his head, maintaining the same level of concern, for example: "In the past few months, many of my emails to Manager have gone unanswered. This is a change in his behavior toward me which I have tried to address (see email below) with no response. I would like your advice about what I should do next. I really would like to know if there are issues with my performance, and I also need help in improving the lines of communication with Manager."

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On a professional level, as long you can get the responses you need from somebody else / any other source and it is not affecting your performance, the best thing you can do is to scale down your keenness to communicate with this particular person. He is obviously not able to or is not wanting to talk to you too much - for whatever reasons - and haranguing him too often might be counter - productive.Its in your best interests to accept this change and disengage to the minimum required level.

About politics/redundancies - my approach to that is to do everything else that can work to improve the situation. And this approach of trying to communicate with him more often clearly doesn't seem to work. Try other things.

If you are worried about losing touch with the individual - it happens many times when you are away for a while, somebody else takes prominence in their daily work because the Org setup changed, a project changed etc or maybe they just found somebody else to spend more time with. And when you come back, the equations might have changed - from my own experiences, I feel its best to acknowledge that and let go. Things will work out in the long run.

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