Ombud’s Corner: Boss, where are you?

Sometimes bosses seem to wear Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak: always caught in meetings, away on duty travel, overwhelmed with technical duties… the time they have left to spend with their teams can drop down to almost zero. But their people need them…


“Oh no, he is too busy.” “I can’t go and disturb my supervisor, she has no time.” “No, my supervisor doesn’t want to deal with this type of interpersonal problem.” “I have been struggling to get a final decision on this for ages now...”

Having to deal with an invisible boss is often a very worrying source of frustration for the supervisee: no one to share their professional concerns with, no one to make decisions that are perhaps vital to a project, no one to resolve an ongoing conflict between colleagues and a flow of information that is not as regular or structured as needed.

Boss, where are you? People working in your team need you! They need your decision-making ability; they need you to share your knowledge, your experience and the overview that is invaluable for their project to move forward; they need you to step in and resolve conflict situations. Your people count on you for guidance and support as well as the feedback that will allow them to progress.

Being involved, ensuring regular and effective communication with supervisees, giving clear directions, ensuring that team members feel supported and valued – these are not optional for a leader. They are the essentials that their people expect from them. Certainly, conflicts are more easily resolved when bosses are present, when they decide to get involved, to step in and take whatever action is needed. It is part of the privilege of being a boss; it is also the aspect that will gain them the appreciation of their staff.

Because of their role, bosses are often required to take action in difficult situations. Undoubtedly, this requires time, energy and concern; it requires a significant investment on their parts. But it is an investment that will bring them the greatest rewards. Take off your invisibility cloak and be a boss – your team will thank you for it!

Contact the Ombud Early!


All previous Ombud's Corners can be accessed in the Ombud's blog.

by Sudeshna Datta-Cockerill