Have you ever had a boss that just wasn’t there? (Maybe that’s your wish!) Perhaps they are physically present but are not engaged in your relationship or the job that they are holding. A Gallup poll shows that nearly 20% of people in the workforce are actively disengaged. That number includes leaders and managers as well. 

Bring it to their attention in a positive way. 

If you get along with your boss and feel like they should be more engaged in your weekly activities, let them know. Approach the situation in a way that is encouraging and uplifting to them. Something like, “Would it be ok for us to have a weekly check-in so that I can make sure I’m executing well on your priorities?” works much better than, “I don’t see you enough. Can we get some time together?” 

Make your leader feel like you value their leadership and their time as opposed to guilting them to do it. The tactic doesn’t work in relationships at home much less at the workplace. 

The leader is both absent and the wrong fit. 

Your leader may be absent and the wrong fit. You’re happy that they are aren’t around because that means you have to deal with them less. In this circumstance, the leader is not often a micromanager. Use that to your advantage. 

First, understand the priorities, rules of engagement and boundaries then set off and lead yourself or your team well. In this scenario, you are going to have to pick up the reins and run it like you are your boss. (Which really should be how you should lead yourself anyway.) Sometimes people will step back, allow things to stay mediocre or fail and just point the finger at the leader at the end of the day.

I know the value and power of modeling the behavior that you want to get from others. Don’t let your boss’s disengagement drive you in the same direction. Step up and lead yourself well. Lead yourself and your team how you would like for someone to lead you. 

Fill your cup in different ways. 

An absent leader can lead to frustration because you aren’t supported. You and your team can lose confidence and feel less valued in what you do. Find guidance from other areas. This could be from other teams that are working on the same project, a mentor in the company or a trusted advisor in HR. There are many people involved in your life and career journey. If you don’t get enough from your boss, supplement the rest in other avenues. 

Having an absent leader can be a challenge, especially if your personality type is one that needs recognition and affirmation on your job. Do your best to connect with them. Continue to lead yourself with excellence and do your best. Just because your boss is absent doesn’t mean that you have to be as well. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH