6 Smart Ways To Dealing With A Forgetful Boss

Do you find it frustrating to explain and re-explain things to your boss? Working with a forgetful boss can bring you extra workload which can ultimately result into stress.

Managing your relationship with your boss is one of the secret components of every job that never appears on a job description or annual review. No matter how smart you are or your level in the organization you walk with; you are most likely going to have a manager who works above and with you to make sure you’re doing what you need to do.

Although, the relationship between you and your boss should be highly professional, yet it’s also a human one because your personality and that of your boss is in play.

If your boss is a lot like them, with lots of things to attend to; it’s very easy for information to slip out of their mind.

How to Handle a Forgetful Boss

Having a forgetful boss can make the work day experience a bit like Groundhog Day as you explain and re-explain things to him or her.

If you have a boss who tends to forget things, or has a short attention span; here are some strategies you can use to make sure your boss has all the info he or she needs, while helping you keep your sanity.


1. Put it in writing

The very first step in dealing with a forgetful boss is to put thing into writing. When you come out of a meeting, or discuss something with your forgetful boss, follow up with notes soon after. That way, you have a record of what you talked about, what next steps were, what everyone’s responsibilities will be, etc.

When you are approached later by your boss to inquire about topic X, you’ll be able to say, “Oh, I have the notes on that from last week. I can resend.” Then it’s just a quick email forward, and not a repeat discussion of things you’d already covered.

Putting things into writing help reduce the stress and extra workload placed on you while working with a forgetful boss.

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2. Be Handy

You need to be proactive when dealing with a forgetful boss. Don’t wait until your boss call you to make a request like, “Can you update me on X?” or “I’m void on what you were going to do next for Y.”

In other to help your forgetful boss stay in the loop, send short and regular status updates on various projects – and exercise his or her memory about what you’re doing, and when.

This help prevents queries and you having to stop and explain things and best of all, this can get you a pay raise without asking for it.

3. Stay On Topic

If you’re dealing with a forgetful boss there are chances that they may be too busy or they are easily distracted. So, if your boss has short attention span, keep your discussions focused.

One of the ways that you can keep the discussion focused on specific points is to send an agenda with the most important items highlighted prior to a status meeting where you update on a number of projects.

Another way to keep your discussion focused for a forgetful boss is to have short meetings. Instead of having large meetings on a variety of topics, think about having shorter meetings, each on a separate and targeted topic.

Staying on-topic is crucial especially when dealing with a forgetful boss as this can prevent attention and discussions from wandering too far from the subject at hand.


4. Use Email More Efficiently

You need to know how to use email more effectively when dealing with a forgetful boss, most importantly when crafting your email subject line.

Nothing gets lost in an inbox faster than an email subject line of “Hey, quick question” or “Meeting to discuss”.

The ease and portability of email often makes for casual writing, but whether you’re sending an email from your desk or on the fly from your phone, take the time to make the subject line as specific as possible. That makes it more find-able in your boss’s inbox, and may help head off follow-up questions that have already been answered.

5. Tailor To Your Boss’s Personality

If you love your job and are serious about keeping your job with a forgetful boss, you need to ask yourself some questions.

Thoughtful questions like – Is he forgetful because he’s in constant meetings, and just doesn’t have time to process information? Does she do better with visual presentations than with long-winded discussions? – can really guide you. It’s like how teachers adapt their classrooms to how students learn.

Think about what the core issue is here. If you reflect on why your boss is forgetful or isn’t paying attention, it can help you figure out how to attack the issue. It doesn’t mean your boss is doing a bad job – just that his or her style may be different from your own.


6. Turn to technology

If you don’t feel comfortable setting reminders for your boss, there are ways to let tech do that for you. Productivity apps like Asana or Evernote can help you manage your own workload and projects, but they also have built-in tools like the ability to assign tasks to other people, send email reminders, etc.

It can be a gentle way to remind your boss that he needs to send you the information you need, or sign off on something before you can proceed. Additionally, it’ll keep you more organized as well!

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Wrap It Up!

Sometimes you may have to manage your managers – though you may not be told to do so officially but the situation will serve as a pointer. Such a situation is when you found yourself having to manage a forgetful boss.

So, if you have a manager whose style can seem absent-minded at times, don’t despair. You can’t necessarily change your boss or his style, but you can work on the way you “manage up” to help maintain your own productivity and peace of mind.

Over To You

So, what are the other advises, tips, strategies, techniques or methods that have worked for you? Please share with us in the comment below. Believe me; I sincerely value your opinion more than mine.

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