Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WORKPLACE / JUL. 06, 2014
version 6, draft 6

How to Approach an Unapproachable Boss

When we talk of an unapproachable boss, the picture that comes to mind is that of global bigwigs like Donald Trump, Carlos Slim, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and so forth. However, I want us to focus on our own individual situations on the ground. Some of us work in companies so big that meeting the boss at the top is a mission impossible hands down. Plus, the only time you get to set eyes on your unapproachable boss is when you’re watching him/her on TV engaging with key stake holders. So this is someone who has little time (if any) to meet with employees at the very bottom of the company pyramid. In addition, there are other numerous junior employees as well clamouring to meet with the same boss. With this in mind, we should ask ourselves, how does one approach an unapproachable boss?

#1 Familiarize with Company Protocol

For many unapproachable bosses, travelling locally and overseas to meet with prospective investors and peers in business conferences is the norm. Sometimes they’re only available for two days on a good week. In addition, some companies make it difficult for you to meet with the unapproachable boss. Thus, they’ll put meetings of importance at the top of the list. You’re likely to suffer the wrath of mediocre reasons by having your appointment procrastinated even for months or dismissed altogether if it has no weighty issue. There are also companies that require for you to seek appointment through lower rank managers first before you can book an appointment with the big boss. That’s because in a bid to reduce the MD’s overwhelming roles, many decisions are delegated to lower rank managers. You’ll therefore have to know the decision making role of every manager to finally come up with a final list of the management roles of the MD. That way, when you present such issues to lower rank managers, you’ll be directly referred to the managing director of your company.

#2 Establish Rapport with Senior Employees

To avoid the normal uphill task of company protocol, another way of pulling this off is to gain favour with senior employees. However, this won’t be easy especially if they’re strict. To begin with, the best way to get noticed even by the most mean supervisor is to show concrete evidence of exceptional innovation and hard work. The more you work hard and suggest ideas in the workplace, the more you get summoned for conversation and thus the perfect opportunity to establish rapport. In addition, if you want to get noticed by the pack of senior employees, you’ll have to act like you’re one of them from the way you dress to the way you handle clientèle and carry yourself. You’ll soon find yourself being recommended for senior job vacancies and before you know it, the unapproachable boss is summoning all newly appointed senior employees for a weekend retreat at a prestigious hotel.

#3 Boost your Confidence and Self-Esteem

To learn how to approach an unapproachable boss, you’ll have adapt to his/her level of confidence and self-esteem by to learn the language of key industry players. In addition, you’ll have to know what tickles his fancy. For instance, what does the unapproachable boss talk about when interacting with peers? Does the obsession have something to do with the stock market or technology trends? How about hobbies? What conversation and activities is the unapproachable boss involved in during his free time? You can learn this through television interviews, magazines or eavesdrop on his interactions with senior employees within your vicinity. This of course will be at your discretion.

#4 Try Social Mechanisms

You don’t necessarily have to focus on approaching the boss through official mechanisms. Sometimes it calls for you to try out avenues beyond workplace boundaries such as:

Social Media Platforms - You should know the social media platforms that your boss is most active in. In addition, active and informed participation in social media forums will make you get noticed and it would be a pleasant surprise for your unapproachable boss to realize that your exceptional talent is actually part of his/her company. However, you’ve got to present an image that will attract a response. From your profile picture to the choice of words you post, first impression counts. Ultimately, Professionalism begets professionalism.

Company Events - Company activities such as boot-camps and team building retreats are meant to enhance cohesion within employee quarters. Chances are, a self-driven employee is being subliminally recruited for a senior position. This will call for you to be alert through rigorous participation. Plus, companies occasionally organize charitable events for social and corporate responsibility to surrounding communities. Participation in such events will give you exposure as the company’s representative in charitable affairs and will get you noticed by the unapproachable boss.

#5 Keep your Efforts Modest and Discreet

The last thing you want is to have opposition pulling you down when trying to approach an unapproachable boss. Many of your workplace peers wouldn’t be pleased with the idea of being left behind as you meet with the big boss. You might also realize that some senior employees deem you as a threat to their job security and they’ve set up several roadblocks to ensure that you stick to your current level. You’ve therefore got to show modesty and pull this off in a discreet, ’coincidental’ and seemingly effortless manner. Since as we all know, not every smile at the workplace has our best interest at heart.

Besides high position, there are factors beyond our control that make some bosses literary unapproachable. For instance, there are bosses that are stubborn and narcissistic introverts. Then there are those that try their very best to avoid contact beyond senior management. Such bosses wouldn’t be very pleased with your presence and you could end up losing your job. There are also bosses extremely protected by protocol that every social contact is closely monitored. Ultimately, you’ll have to thoroughly and carefully study every obstacle before taking the first step in approaching an unapproachable boss.  

Sourced Image: Donald Trump


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