My boss won't acknowledge me

Getting short shrift from your manager? Try to understand their behaviour, says Jeremy Bullmore.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 28 Feb 2017

Q: I've spent the past three weeks slogging over a big pitch. My boss and I presented it to the client, and we won the contract. Now I just feel utterly deflated that my boss didn't so much as say thank you to me, even though he was well aware of the late nights I put in. I've lost motivation. Any advice?

Jeremy Bullmore says: When feeling as incensed and as deflated as you do because of the behaviour of others, it's nearly always worth trying to work out what motivated that behaviour.

On the face of it, your boss's total failure to acknowledge your contribution seems extremely odd. He was in charge; the two of you won the business; he has nothing to lose by granting you your fair share of the credit. So I can only assume that he's deeply insecure; that he, too, has a boss who's expressed some doubts about him - and that makes him want to hog all the glory that's going.

Does that seem possible? (By suggesting this, I'm not excusing him; just trying to understand him.) But he might just be a congenitally ungracious, mean-spirited bastard - in which case, you'd be better off without him.

Why don't you, with innocent face, ask him to join you in the pub so that you can celebrate your win? How he responds - and however he responds - will tell you quite a lot.

Jeremy Bullmore is a former creative director and chairman of J Walter Thompson London. Email him your problems at editorial@managementtoday.com. Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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