I work in a small company of less than 50 people, and our team is less than 15 people.

My manager is usually very busy, because he's sort of the single point of contact for everyone in the company. For the last few months he's been even busier because we are launching a new product.

I'm now finding it difficult to get hold of him for anything from holiday requests to a promotion I was promised.

He's broken several promises, but the most important to me is the promotion I was promised in January -- it's now March and I haven't heard anything about it, or any reason for the delay.

I also asked about another personal matter three weeks ago, and he promised that he will look into it, but I haven't heard anything on that either.

How can I inform my manager that I feel like I am being ignored?

A month ago, I asked him for a catch-up, and he said he would get back to me. Should I send him an email or ask for a catch-up again?

  • 2
    How can I inform my manager that I feel like being ignored ? Have you tried actually saying it? Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 8:53
  • @HopelessN00b yes but years ago, for other reasons, which helped a little but didn't sorted the root cause. BY helped a little means, I told him the reason I think I feel ignored, and then that reason is sort of fixed but problem of "ignoring" keeps arising (I am at this company for 6 years now)
    – Change
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 8:58
  • 2
    Well, maybe it's time to refresh his memory. Also, if this has been going on for years, it sounds like a permanent condition, rather than anything you're actually going to be able to do anything about. It doesn't sound like a situation you're going to be able to resolve to your satisfaction, at least not permanently. Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 9:01
  • 3
    Sounds that the Manager has weak Time Management skills. However now you learned something. When someone talks of a promise of a promotion, Get it in an email. At least that way you could forward the email back to the manager and say, "whats happening with this?" cant ignore that ;)
    – Tasos
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 10:02
  • 1
    Sounds almost exactly like the company I left a few months ago. Monthly emailed reminders became weekly reminders became me in his office every single day until I got answers out of him. Ofc the answers I eventually got weren't the ones I was looking for - reasons I'm not there anymore...
    – brhans
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 20:50

4 Answers 4

  1. Schedule a 1:1 meeting with your manager the formal way through your email/scheduling software. 30 minutes, face-to-face, on a day of the week he's unlikely to be out of the office.
  2. Send him a list of agenda items along with the meeting request, that includes topics you want to discuss, such as next steps toward your promotion.
  3. Do not go into the meeting with an "I DEMAND" attitude. This is still your manager and someone in a position of authority to deny you a promotion. Being told in January you'd be promoted and still waiting to hear about it in March is not that unusual, especially in small companies where people often have many responsibilities. Remind him of your earlier discussion and reassert how you'd help the company in a more senior role.
  4. If time management is repeatedly a problem for this manager, it may be time to ask about hiring a supervisor to deal with day-to-day operational issues to give the manager time to actually manage people and do more strategic work.
  • Item 4 is important. The manager has to be told that his "busyness" is harming the business over the long run. He really has to start delegating tasks. What would happen if he gets hit by a bus?
    – jwsc
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 10:22

This is a tactic many managers use. He's not THAT busy, if he's not resolving issues then he's mainly busy with sidestepping them.

In a similar situation I just confronted the chap and didn't allow him to fob me off with 'I'll look into it, and get back to you.' garbage. The best way to accomplish this is face to face. As soon as the manager realises that's it's more trouble to NOT look into your issues than it is to resolve them. Their attitude changes.

Until then you're low priority and will remain that way. Do it politely but firmly.

It does depend on your self-confidence, but I wouldn't wait two months for a promised promotion before doing something about it. I'd have done the talk a long time ago, and if I didn't get reasonable action I'd probably be in another job by now.

  • 2
    -1 unless you just so happen to know this manager. Stereotyping from an anecdotal experience isn't an answer. Try rephrasing your answer.
    – psaxton
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 21:07
  • The "single point of contact for the entire company" may be the boss who is the exception to this rule.
    – user8365
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 22:22
  • @psaxton do you know the manager? I can only speak from experience, answer can stand as it is. A good manager makes time.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 4:43

For whatever reason, your boss isn't following up, so you need to change what you're doing.

Indicate you don't want to be a pest, but you just wanted to follow-up on a previous request. Do it in email, voice mail, or whatever. Try and schedule a specific meeting time.

Many people are busy and unfortunately, they only tend to those who push harder. Your coworkers may be more persistent.

If you think you should be able to make a one-time request and a busy boss is going to organize their time to meet your needs, it's just not going to happen. Some bosses under certain circumstances are very organized and cognizant of everyone's needs. Under these circumstances, many bosses are not.

Don't read too much into it until you have a definitive answer on your request.


I'll throw out an additional tactic I've used:

How can I help you help me?

Do the items that Diana Tortolini cites, but in avoiding the "I demand" attitude, the really good tone to strike is - "this is really important to me, how I can help you? I know you're super busy - but this can't wait anymore".

I have gone so far as to gently propose things like:

  • Would it be reasonable for me to expect a response from you on this by XX date?
  • I need to know by XYZ date or I will assume the following... (this one works better on vacation requests)

Or - researching the process and then working to ease the management burden as much as possible - for example... talk to both your boss and HR about what the steps and requirements are for a promotion. Then be ready and willing to fill out as much of the paperwork as possible assuming you meet the criteria.

Also - if your company has an HR rep, both the vacation and the promotion stuff should be OK to loop the HR rep in on - they can facilitate this stuff, and it makes your boss accountable to someone outside of the reporting structure... he how has to answer the HR rep on why he didn't do his job. That's not a strategy I would say out loud to the boss, but it is a viable point.

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