Office Coach: Ask boss for help gaining visibility

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Question: Even though I'm a senior manager, no one outside my department seems to know I exist. Whenever people need information related to my group, they always contact my boss. Instead of referring them to me, she will either answer the question herself or go to my employees for assistance. I am left completely out of the loop.

I don't want to give the wrong impression, because I really like my manager. In fact, she's the best boss I've ever had. I just feel that if these inquiries were directed to me, I could begin to establish my credibility. After two years in this position, I would like to be more visible, but I don't know how to bring this up in a respectful way.

Answer: Given that your boss is otherwise a good manager, her interference is almost certainly unintentional. If she typically demonstrates a preference for quick action, then providing an immediate response may simply be her natural instinct. The unfortunate result is that you are pushed into the background.

Since the two of you have a good relationship, engaging in a productive, nondefensive discussion of this issue should not be difficult. The key is to avoid critiquing your manager's behavior and to focus instead on increasing your own effectiveness.

For example: "One of my personal goals is to develop more relationships outside our department. You're a terrific role model for this, because almost everyone seems to know you. However, since you're so well-known, people tend to contact you with questions related to my group. If you wouldn't mind referring some of these folks to me, that would help to expand my network."

This will hopefully lead to an agreement about which issues should be routed to you and which should be handled by your boss. But if nothing changes, start looking for other ways to increase your visibility. Once people know who you are, questions are more likely to come your way.


Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach Visit


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