How do you get a new boss’s attention when he has been ignoring your work for months?

Guest Post by Dr. Mark Goulston

He might refuse and that may not be personal if he’s a new boss, because he may be stressed out about something else and his ignoring you may not be about you.

However, he will hopefully be intrigued by your request and want to know what you had in mind since if the group achieved great results, that would be a big plus for him.

When you meet, say to him,

“Thanks again for the taking the time to meet. What is something that would be impossible for us to achieve as a group, but if we could achieve it would greatly accelerate our positive results?”

In all likelihood, he’ll initially be confused and you might have to repeat it.

The Impossibility Question (source: The Impossibility Question) is a great way to cause someone to think outside the box and people often like to think about it because it can rapidly make them better.

Then after he responds, say to him:

“What would make that possible?”

Then say,

“And while we’re thinking outside the box, what is something that I could get done to greatly help that happen (or you can come up with an idea and see what he thinks)?”

Why do this?

Because when you can get someone to think outside the box and beyond transactional solutions, they often appreciate it and you.

Note from Bob:  I am so grateful for Mark Gouston’s willingness to share his wisdom with all of us today! Several years ago I spent a great weekend with Dr. Mark Goulston!  Not in person – although I wish – but devouring his book “Just Listen” – filled with great questions that will absolutely “Increase Your Leadership Effectiveness X10!”  This is a must buy book for every leader and every coach!  I continue to refer to it often.  

Mark Goulston


Mark Goulston, M.D.,is a psychiatrist, consultant, business coach focusing on founders, and is the author of Just Listen,  Get Out of Your Own Way and most recently,Talking to Crazy.  He is a contributor to Harvard Business Review, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Fast Company and Psychology Today.  He is frequently quoted or featured in The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek and others, and on CNN, NPR, Fox News, and BBC-TV.  Mark lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.  For more information visit: contact him:


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