There’s a whole lot of ignoring going on in the workplace
Have you ever been ignored by your manager?
Most every afternoon, Grace lets me know if I’ve been ignoring her. The first sign is the “walk-by,” meant to get my attention, and at this point, she’s actually quite diplomatic. She doesn’t whine or tap my leg. She just makes sure we have eye contact.
Then she goes away, either to her bed, or the other room and waits. It might be 15 minutes or 30 minutes. She returns. The next time, she gives a subtle whimper. Waits for a minute to see my reaction. Retreats.
After another 15 minutes or so, she returns. This time with a kick in her step and a more pronounced whine. She’s ready for our daily walk. If it’s raining, she has no interest in going out, so I’m left to get my work done uninterrupted. But most days, she’s insistent and it’s impossible to be unaware of her presence.
I love our walks, too. The stretch of road we walk on is peaceful and re-energizing and helps me think about my work, my day, all sorts of things. It also helps me burn off a few of those extra calories I tend to eat during the day. But I’m sure she thinks of this as our time together or perhaps just a favorite time of hers to get fresh air and check out all the new smells in her territory. If my schedule won’t allow me to take the 30 minutes, she is quite upset. It’s the equivalent of a manager’s lack of response for an employee’s request or need.
Before I started this blog, I would never have guessed how very prevalent that is. It is not an exaggeration when I tell you that nearly every day, someone is trying to find advice on how to deal with a person who is ignoring him. I can’t tell who is looking, but I can see the search engine terms used. Here is a sampling of what I see — on a daily basis — that has landed people on my blog:
• what to do when my manager is ignoring me
• when someone is ignoring you
• someone is ignoring you
• ignoring someone
• be noticed
• is he ignoring me to think things out?
• what to say if she is ignoring you
• how to know if someone is ignoring you
• how to communicate if she’s ignoring you
• best thing to do when someone is ignoring you
• how to find out if someone is ignoring you
• how do I get him not to ignore me
• how to get through someone ignoring me
• what do you feel when someone is ignoring you
• is there anything to say when she is ignoring you
There are more but you get the idea. There’s a whole lot of ignoring going on.
I think it’s easily a two-way street. When Grace started in with her little “it’s-time-to-go-on-our-walk-routine” yesterday, I was in the middle of a task; I thought it would take about 20 minutes and it ended up taking me an hour. I really wanted to finish before I left. She could wait.
As soon as I was done, we left for our walk. When we were nearing back home, I let her off-leash as I sometimes do. She ran up into the woods and promptly ignored my calls for her to return. Some gratitude for a nice walk, I thought to myself. But maybe it was only fair. She was now ignoring me after I had ignored her earlier.
I often hear from both employees and managers that they feel they have not been heard. Sometimes it’s caused from a lack of access where the manager just isn’t around, nor makes herself available. And other times, it’s because no action has been taken after a conversation where the expectation has been set for something to happen.
Grace has found a way to get my attention when she thinks I’m ignoring her. What advice would you offer to managers and employees who face this recurring problem?