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Here is the situation: I like my job, I like my manager, but in the past 6 months he went from someone who was always approachable and willing to give feedback, to someone whose calendar is literally always full and who skips all 1:1 meetings because he doesn't have time.

This is impacting me directly for my work, I feel a very strong lack of direction, requirements are being only thrown to me from far away after I push for it for weeks, and when I ask for clarifications I never get an answer unless I remind him at least 5 times. I tried speaking about this during 1:1 meetings, they're supposed to be scheduled every 2 weeks as per company policy, but in the past few months he's started skipping them all because he has "more important stuff to do", so it's very hard for me to talk to him. I managed to grab him once and talk about needing more direction on this project, and he said he was aware and trying to unblock more time for this project, but it's been a few months and nothing has changed.

I really don't know what to do, this is impacting my morale, the quality of my work, and I'm thinking to leave even if I still like my work and the company overall. I am exhausted chasing him down for requirements constantly and him most of the time just ignoring my meetings or asking for reschedules when he has no slot free.

Has anyone ever been in this situation? It doesn't feel like he's being "passive", he just has way too much on his plate and as the team and group kept growing he never delegated anything which is causing this issue now.

  • What you do if you have requirement and have some confusion in it , and that manager do not have time to clear your confusion till 1 month? you wait for his reply and stay idle? or they assign you other task? – Helping Hands Jun 11 '15 at 3:47
  • I always have a bunch of side tasks, maintenance on top of my main project so I can keep myself busy, but at the same time not making enough progress on my main project because I can't get the requirements. I try to send questions by email now but it's about a 10% response rate... – jackylantern Jun 11 '15 at 3:57
  • Do you feel that you are growing in your profile/field? I mean if you are developer then do you feel that you are learning something new and enhancing your skill? Because your career growth is also important. No meaning to do work on things which does not help you to grow. – Helping Hands Jun 11 '15 at 4:18
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    @HelpingHands that's the thing, the project is really important and the technologies I'm learning as part of this project are really useful for personal growth. But then leadership on this project is just awful, so as much as I enjoy the technologies and all this is becoming a nightmare. – jackylantern Jun 11 '15 at 4:22
  • I see , then do not think about to leave. Continue work. Also according to given solution by @Jane S , that will solve your this issue may be.. – Helping Hands Jun 11 '15 at 4:25
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Really if your manager is overworked and is unable to resolve his time constraints, you have no chance of getting time with him. You can harass him all you like, but he needs to either:

  1. Successfully reduces his workload so that he can spend time actually managing; or
  2. Prioritises your meetings over other tasks as something he needs to do to manage his team.

Unless he is able to change things himself to prioritise you, then you have little hope of changing the situation and may well need to look elsewhere.

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    Yes and he said he was working to try to delegate more to be able to spend more time on this project, but this was already a few months ago and nothing has changed. I'm really not sure what to do, maybe just grab him in the hallway and tell him we need to talk or something like that so he knows it's serious. – jackylantern Jun 11 '15 at 3:58
  • If you've done that before and had no change, then it's unlikely to have any effect. You can try, of course, and I hope it works out, but from experience after a burst of enthusiasm they fall back into their previous pattern. – Jane S Jun 11 '15 at 4:01
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    Yes that describes the situation pretty perfectly :) One top of that I'm being paired for this project with someone who has a 7 hours timezone difference, and while he's very nice we have very little time to actually talk every day. So this + manager never available is really driving my morale down as I'm not making as much progress as I want. – jackylantern Jun 11 '15 at 4:05
  • I've been on both sides of that equation, and in both cases it just couldn't resolve as there wasn't the will from the business owners to pay for sufficient resources :( – Jane S Jun 11 '15 at 4:19
  • Well that's good to know, I appreciate your feedback in any case. Wish I could upvote you, but I'll accept your answer. – jackylantern Jun 11 '15 at 4:21
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First, I feel your pain. In my current job my 1st team leader was so busy he would sometimes come to his desk to put his laptop bag at 7 PM after a full day of meetings. We never knew if he was in the office, we felt stuck, we felt ignored, we didn't have focus, it was demoralizing. Some people are not good at delegating, however, part of the problem was that we didn't have a product manager at the time (he left a couple of months before I joined and it took a long time to find a replacement).

I suggest you find who can help you when you get stuck. Even ask your leader: "Who do I go to, if I can't find you?", this will also force him to delegate some of his responsibilities to you and the person(s) helping you.

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