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Do you wonder why your boss doesn’t show up at your meeting?

This is not an un-usual situation. You call a meeting that you deem important. You invite the right people to have a constructive conversation in the hopes of coming to a decision that will be accepted by most. You planned everything ahead of time in order to maximize your participants’ “Return On Time Invested” (ROTI).

Before the meeting and without further information, your boss tells you that he won’t be attending your meeting. You try to get over the inital disappointment and frustration in order to answer the nagging question that pops in your mind “Why doesn’t my boss show up at my meeting?“.

Assuming for a minute that this is not due to an un-expected situation and that you were told before the start of the meeting – being told during the meeting would add insult to injury by showing a lack of respect.

I can only think of 2 reasons to explain that behavior:

  • The decision for which you are meeting has already been taken or will be taken behind closed-door.
  • The decision is not important for your boss.

Either way, this demonstrates that your boss doesn’t care about the decision stemming from the meeting. Although that is frustrating and wastes people time and energy, it is not dramatic in itself. This becomes a problem because of the lack of communication around your boss’ decision not to attend the meeting.

You may not be pleased if your boss tells you that the decision has already been taken but at least, you wouldn’t feel like an idiot when you realize this fact after you put your time and energy in the meeting.

Now, let’s give this situation a different spin and imagine receiving the following information from your boss before your meeting:

  • My absence to your meeting does not indicate that I do not believe in the value of your meeting;
  • I trust the group and their collective intelligence to make an informed decision;
  • I am confident that the participants will challenge each other and will have good discussions;
  • I want to prevent the debate from revolving around my opinion, which could bias the conversation;
  • I prefer to support individuals with my expertise rather than take decisions for them.

Would you still wonder what your boss’ intentions were? Wouldn’t you feel good? Trusted? Motivated??

If you manage people, don’t let them wonder about your intention. Tell them the reason behind your actions.

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