Now that you’re in the habit of emailing your supervisor after each meeting the two of you have, let’s take managing your manager to the next level.
Step 2 of this project is going to be your weekly report. (Yes, I know, again it’s more work for you! I’m sorry. Some people just really suck at communicating, and since you can’t change them, you’ll have to do the work to protect yourself.)
What’s a in weekly report? Again, this is an emailed document, to your boss and your boss’ boss, where appropriate, in which you outline the week. I recommend three sections: projects you’ve completed, projects that you’re working on, and things that have stalled. Give some detail on each of these, including things like the date you completed the projects, where you are on the ones in progress, and what steps you’ve taken on the ones that have stalled. For that last section, you can also have a request for your supervisor: “As you can see, I haven’t had any luck in getting Brad to respond, either via phone or email. Could you please try reaching out to him? I really need that info before I can proceed.”
When I needed to use this approach, I would do it on Friday afternoons, right around lunch. There was, of course, the possibility that something would change before the end of the day, but I didn’t especially want to tackle something so boring and filled with details at the very end of my work-week, so I’d do it over a nice lunch. In fact, knowing that I didn’t enjoy this task, I’d sometimes even bring in a little treat for myself as a reward for getting it done, but do what makes sense to you.
I won’t promise that this will fix all the communication problems your manager has. I did this for a couple of years before I decided that the problems I faced were insurmountable, and left the organization. But I can promise you that the efforts will help, at least a bit! And if you need to argue for a different result on your annual report, request a raise, or even fight a baseless termination, you’ll be really glad you have access to all this information through your own email account.
Good luck, and feel free to contact me if you’re going through an unpleasant situation like this!