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Office Life

How to handle a manager who doesn’t care if you sink or swim

Having a manager who doesn’t seem to care how you perform or give you the resources to do well can be tricky, but certain strategies can help you cope at work.

Don’t rely on them to stick up for you — look around your company

Someone else might be able to be of service.

Nicholas Pearce, a pastor, founder and CEO of The Vocati Group and a Clinical Associate Professor of Management & Organizations at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, writes about how to manage when your boss won’t be your advocate in The Harvard Business Review.

Find another advocate. Ideally, you would have a direct supervisor going to bat for you from the get-go, but your boss isn’t the only person in the organization who can advocate for you. There are other influencers who can give you the boost you need. To navigate your advocacy gap, you want to identify and win the support of executive sponsors,” he writes. “The ideal sponsor is a powerful, high-ranking ally within your organization who will bring up your name with the right people at the right time so that you gain access to opportunity. Your sponsor is your champion in the organization — and sometimes even beyond it.”

Talk about it

Larry Alton, a blogger, researcher, freelance writer and business consultant, writes in The Balance Small Business about what to do when you don’t feel as appreciated as you should be at work. One of his tips is to “speak up.”

“Sometimes the fact that you feel underappreciated goes totally unnoticed by your boss. They may be so busy that they don’t realize you’re feeling this way. If you suspect this may be the case, don’t be afraid to speak up,” he writes. “You don’t want to come across as a whiny child, so be strategic in how you approach the conversation. Explain that you sometimes feel you aren’t living up to expectations and discuss some ways in which you can be motivated to continue being successful. If nothing else, this lets your boss know where you stand.”

Change managers — and jobs

This might be just what you need.

Vicki Salemi, a public speaker, columnist, author consultant and Monster career expert, writes about how to manage “when your boss doesn’t care about you” in U.S. News & World Report.

“Find another boss who does care. When it’s apparent your boss just isn’t that into you, it’s time to look for one that is (yes, they do exist). If they don’t care about your growth, they don’t have your back and this trickles into other areas of office culture as well. If they don’t support you, it’s hard to expect them to go to bat for you when it’s salary review time, promotion time or time to look at expanding your role to delegating to others,” she writes. “Everyone deserves a boss who cares about their accomplishments as well as their goals. The effort and focus devoted to looking for a new job is certainly much better than putting up with a boss who doesn’t have your best interests in mind.”

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