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Does Your Boss Regularly Cancel on You? Here’s What to Say.

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Working for a boss who’s always canceling meetings — especially last minute — can be extremely frustrating. Rather than quietly resenting your manager for their inconsistency, it’s essential to talk to them directly so you can get the feedback and support you need. Here’s how to do that in a productive way.

  • Don’t take it personally. A cancellation may feel like a slight against you, but they’re probably missing meetings with other people too. You can discreetly ask a trusted colleague if they’ve experienced the same thing.
  • Prepare the right tone. You want to avoid sounding passive aggressive or throwing a barb at your boss. To stay calm and achieve a neutral, non-judgmental tone in the conversation, give your boss the benefit of the doubt: maybe they’re overscheduled, burnt out, or unaware of the impact their frequent cancellations are having on you.
  • Start the discussion. If you have a close relationship with your boss, be direct, saying something like, “When you cancel at the last minute, it holds me back because I’m often counting on getting your input.” If you’re not comfortable with a direct approach, you might suggest shortening the meeting, moving it to a different day (if it’s a recurring check-in), or exchanging notes over Slack or email instead, and see if that helps.

Remember the ultimate goal is to change the dynamic and create a more positive, consistent relationship with your boss.

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