I'm a 25 year-old female from India. I work in a corporate educational institute as a research associate. I have been working here for the past two years. Recently two new candidates of my age have been recruited into our office and our boss gives more importance to them in taking vital decisions regarding work. I feel like being sidelined and ignored by my boss. Even though I'm supposed to be their immediate boss, they do not respond to me and go over my head to my boss for everything while ignoring my presence. What can I do?

Rob Yeung's Answer:

Have you tried talking to your boss about how you feel? The only way to find out what is going on is to ask your boss – be direct, but polite, in raising the issue with your boss.

Ask your boss to set up a time that you can speak about your performance and what you could be doing to be more helpful. Pick a time when you know your boss won't be interrupted and will be in a good mood. Then prepare what you want to say.

Tell your boss that you've been feeling a bit sidelined lately, and ask if there's any specific reason for it. Try to talk in the first person (e.g. "I've been feeling sidelined" and "I get the impression that the new recruits aren't responding to me") rather than the second or third person ("you are sidelining me" or "the new recruits are not responding to me") because first person statements sound less accusatory.

Make it clear to your boss that you are merely expressing your opinions rather than making claims that you know the facts of what is going on. Your boss may not even realise that you feel the way you do.

Alternatively, it could be possible that your boss has changed how he or she is making decisions for good reason – possibly to do with your performance relative to those of the new arrivals. Then ask your boss to give you some feedback on what you've been doing well and not so well recently. Ask specific questions to find out what you could be doing better. Resist the temptation to become defensive and listen to what your boss says.

If your boss says that there is nothing to do with your work performance that needs changing, then reiterate how you have been feeling recently and see if you can work out with your boss a way of structuring the work within the team to help you feel more involved.


About our Expert

Rob Yeung
Rob Yeung

Dr Rob Yeung is a Director and executive coach at leadership consulting firm Talentspace. He is the author of over a dozen career and management books including How to Win and I is for Influence.

Older Comments

I agree, You MUST confront this head on. The longer you leave it, the worse it will get, until you have no option but to leave. It's hard, but you need to talk you your boss as soon as poss.


hey i feel you should try to handle this issue on your own because they are ur junior and every new person who joins the organisation wants to impress his/her super boss. upto which extent u will tell it to ur boss and what if same happens it to u in ur next job ?????????????/// i think u should handle it own ur own

vaani ludhiana ,india

I mostly agree with Rob. But, as an alternative, you might want to delegate more assignments to those new staff. If they ignore your assignments, I would then rate their performance through their performance review. When your boss reviews their performance report and finds that they are not completing assignments which you are giving, he/she 'should' see that there is a problem with the organizational structure, which should lead into some kind of change initiated by your boss. I'm saying this because the performance report is your biggest tool to get the attention of those that you supervise.


Don Stone

It's time to assert yourself. The 2 new members of staff are taking their cues on who is imporatnat from your boss. Your boss is sending them the message that they can/should go directly to him so bypassing you.

To rectify this you need to make it clear that it is unacceptable, that they should report to you and that your boss should go through you when he wants to commision work from the new staff members.

Once this heirarchy has been established the rules can be relaxed but at this moment your boss' behaviour means that you are unable to do what you're being paid to do - namely manage the new members of staff.

Good luck.

Furno UK

Does your organization have a chain of command for making complaints, or an issues resolution process? Read about your option's first if any policies exist.

You may also want to reevaluate the situation after a few days.

I would also make certain the new associates have been told that you are the person they report to initially. Someone may have informed them differently. I would let them know you are there to help them to be successful. Who knows for certain but they may be feeling insecure or intimidated. Maybe not but it is good idea to weigh your options before taking action.

I am also not familiar with the laws of your country. There is much to consider. Is your company a multi national? What Country? Do the laws of the United States extend to you as a U.S. citizen ? etc...

I have learned from experiance that complaining or even expressing your feelings in a circle of bias persons can lead to retaliation. If it is still tolerable and the beginning of the work relationship with these individuals try to find out what exactly is going on before you go to the boss. Narrow down the possibilities. If you can.

Best Regards

Carol United States