When I need to discuss important strategic issues with her, she hangs up, refusing to acknowledge either their existence or my calls. I understand the issues well and would approach my director, but this would be seen as going behind my boss's back. How do I get her to address the issues and secure some positive input so we can take the business forward?
From what you've told me, I strongly suspect that your boss is suffering from nightmarish personal and professional insecurity - and may well need professional help and counselling. I don't believe that it should be you who takes on the heavy responsibility for getting her to change her ways - you could soon be totally out of your depth.
This is precisely the sort of problem your director is paid to sort out You must tell him that you are seriously concerned for your boss's state of mind and get an assurance from him that he will investigate the matter immediately. But do concentrate entirely on your concern for your boss, and try to keep your own dissatisfactions to yourself.
Please address your problems to Jeremy Bullmore at: Management Today, 174 Hammersmith Road, London W6 7JP. Or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.