Self-Help Desk asks the experts to give advice on soft-skills, office politics and dealing with work-related stress.
I keep feeling that my immediate supervisor is shutting me out on major decisions. He always apologizes afterwards and claims there were scheduling conflicts,
but I’m starting to feel like more of a grunt worker and less of a part of the strategic decision-making process. How do I make sure I’m not just being paranoid, and if I’m not, how do I try to make sure I’m consulted earlier on when decisions are getting made?
Before you decide that you are totally paranoid I think it would be wise to clear the air with your immediate supervisor about what is taking place in your area. We have a tendency to create doubt in our minds about our capabilities if we do not fully understand what is happening. For instance, there may have been a time when you attended a meeting and your supervisor did not feel you were contributing to the decision-making process or that you were critical of the suggestions. You need to determine what is the root cause of your not being invited to these meetings. Once you understand the reason then it will be easier for you to set forth your strategy.
It may be advantageous for you to check with your peers to see if you are the only one being shut out — does it happen to the whole team? If so, you may want to approach the supervisor as a group and let him now how you feel. This will allow him the opportunity to explain the reason for the shut-out so you can work out a new procedure together.
On the other hand, it may the style of your supervisor and that he feels he is the one who can make major decisions, while your job is to implement these decisions. It may be important for him to know that you have the knowledge and the resources regarding these projects and that you would be a valuable asset to the decision making process if given the chance. Your supervisor may just not know what you have to offer.
If an opportunity should present itself where you have advance knowledge of a project and are able to provide sound, concrete information that can be used in the decision making process, this might enable you to demonstrate to your supervisor that it would be an asset to invite you these meetings in the future.
You just don’t know what you don’t know, so it is important to be clear on what the problem is before you begin to solve it.
Monika B. Jensen is a principal of the Aviary Group, specializing in conflict management, alternate dispute resolutions, diversity, change management, harassment prevention, and investigations. Send questions or problems to firstname.lastname@example.org with “”Self-Help Desk”” in the subject line. Inquiries will be treated as anonymous if requested.