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My superior has gotten into the habit of either taking leave or going TDY (on temporary duty assignment) without giving any notice to me or my co-workers. I understand if one is sick and unable to come into work but this week for instance he went away for training. He told none of us he was going.

While I don't feel he has to be reporting to us I feel he should give us a heads up as well as appoint someone in charge if we need something or to run things while he is gone.

Am I wrong in feeling this way? and if not what is the best way to approach him? I should note we have a good working and decent personal relationship.

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    Simply ask him who you should go to if you have a problem one time when he's away. It's a reasonable question. Maybe he's happy for you to call his mobile if you need him, particularly if he's on training or another project, i.e. 'work time' rather than his family holiday!
    – A E
    Jan 15 '15 at 20:20
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I feel he should give us a heads up

Have you talked with him about this? That seems to be the obvious first step - particularly if you have a good working and personal relationship.

Instead of just saying "You shouldn't have done that", explain how his leaving without warning puts your work at risk (if it does).

Instead of saying that he "should appoint someone in charge", ask him how he wants you to deal with the inevitable times when you need something and he isn't around.

When I'm not going to be around, I always let my team know ahead of time, and let them know how to get hold of me should the need arise. That said, my team is well-trained to deal with things individually, and I trust their judgement. So they seldom need me when I'm out. They all know my home and mobile phone number, and aren't afraid to use it when necessary.

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    Knowing operating procedure when the boss is out is pretty critical. Do they want to be called / email / texted if there's an issue, if they can't / don't respond and action is necessary. (Emergency, can not wait) Who's in charge? Last thing you want when everything is going down is two people arguing over what solution to take. Jan 16 '15 at 15:18
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He is not reporting to you as subordinates but in a sense he is: you HAVE to know how to get your hands on him when you need to reach him. You can't have work shutting down simply because people on your team need his input to go forward in their projects, and he can't be found. He HAS to let all of you know how to reach him, at all times. One pretty good indication that you are redundant, by the way, is when people in your group don't care whether you are coming or going because it doesn't matter to them either way.

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Talking to superior directly about short-coming can be tricky. Maybe I would paraphrase Joe Strazzere here, but I feel the best way is to bring up issues you had while he was not here.

Bring up those specific issues without raising the problem of him not giving you the heads up.

For example: "Last week we had an issue with Mr. Doe, we had to make him wait 5 days because it was not clear who was responsible at the time for this type of decision. Maybe we could discuss the matter of having back ups or new procedures for this particular field?"

I feel it's more productive and safer to be talking about viable solutions that does not involve him changing his behavior directly but, instead, planning the situation ahead.

  • First case scenario: he will find easier to warn you ahead and not write procedures or delegate power.
  • Second case scenario: you have now back ups/procedures in case your boss is not here.

Win - Win

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