I'm currently freelancing on a project, and my supervisor has time management issues. He doesn't respect other people's time - or at least doesn't respect the time I reserved with him.

Examples include: extended side conversations during meetings, leaving meetings early to discuss a topic with another co-worker, leaving meetings during meetings to have a conversation with another co-worker, taking phone calls from his spouse during meetings, responding to unrelated emails during meetings, not coming to meetings on time.

Aside from being disrespectful, is that by not paying attention during meetings or leaving during a meeting, the conversation gets side-tracked. He either misses decisions, questions or points raised during the meeting (then asks for changes later), or decisions are not resolved. However, I don't believe he's on a power-trip. He's just not aware that his behavior causes problems.

A friend of mine said to manage up, but I'm not really sure how to do that.

  • I don't have enough for a full answer, but regarding missing decisions, etc. in meetings, I suggest having an agenda and meeting minutes that you share before/after every meeting. Make a template so they only take a moment of your time. They help you and everyone else stay organized and on the same page. – MackM Sep 13 '16 at 19:05
  • @MackM thanks. Sometimes the meetings are meetings he's organized or other people have organized. It wouldn't be appropriate for me to have an agenda for someone else's meeting. – user70848 Sep 13 '16 at 19:22
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    One question I would ask is whether your supervisor is really needed at all these meetings. A lo tof the symptoms you describe occur when people are invited to meetings that they don't really need to attend or that should really be several shorter meetings with smaller groups. Maybe your supervisor is totally disrespecting you, everyone at the meeting, and the company. But maybe he's showing up, finding that most of the meeting topics don't directly concern him and reacting accordingly. – Justin Cave Sep 14 '16 at 7:39
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    @Justin Cave That would be something, but he definitely needs to be there. I often feel that I'm not needed, even though we're discussing my work. – user70848 Sep 14 '16 at 17:41
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    @DLS3141 He's supervising my work, the person I report to. – user70848 Sep 19 '16 at 15:41

Your manager treating you disrespectfully is never fun, and some other people will (wrongly) see it as a poor reflection on you, and even as an invitation to do the same. That is a problem. If your manager is just unaware, bringing it to his attention will be enough. Next time it occurs, bring it up casually when you are in private. You can use humor or be candid or whatever you think would work best with your manager, so long as you point to a concrete action and express that you do not like it. If he does not stop after your hints, you will can learn to live with it or ask that he stop directly, and then accept whatever he decides to do. He's the boss, after all.

Additionally, your manager is walking away from meetings with different/wrong understandings of things. This is a big problem, and the whole reason meeting minutes exist. Talk to your manager, and explain that you have noticed everyone isn't always on the same page after meetings. Offer to take minutes and share them.

Whether he takes you up on that or not, lead by example. Start taking minutes for every meeting you organize, and send them out. Use a template and keep them short, they shouldn’t take long. When other people organize the meetings, keep your own notes during the meetings and offer them to the organizer, or if you wouldn’t feel like it’s stepping on anyone’s toes, to everyone in the meeting. Just an “FYI, I took notes, here they are if anyone wants to see them.”

  • I think the notes idea could work out! Not for everything, but it would be helpful for me. A good practice in general. – user70848 Sep 14 '16 at 0:04

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