How to Prevail Being Ghosted in the Workplace

June 14, 2019

Maybe they are on vacation. Perhaps the email went to a spam folder. Could the receiver lack communication skills? Or, are they just extremely busy?

After weeks of creatively attempting to communicate with someone with no success, you may have to admit that the lack of communication is not unintentional. There is a possibility that you are being ghosted.

The term ghosted is a slang term meaning to ignore another person until they go away. Ghosting occurs in personal and professional environments. As extremely unprofessional as it may seem in the business world, a client, colleague or potential candidate may stop responding. Ignoring communications does not reflect well on leadership potential.

Let’s face it. Communication during a work day is not always easy and it may even be uncomfortable. Whether it be not seeing eye-to-eye, a personality conflict, your competing for the same promotion, or any number of reasons, keeping communication professional will enhance your company’s and personal growth.

Communication should never be taken for granted. Keep an open mind. Even the best of communicators could stand a refresher now and then.

Do not take being ghosted personal. Accept the fact you are being ignored. Even if you do not agree with it, acceptance is the first step. Put a time limit on the time you devote to trying to figure out ‘why this is happening’ and then have something else you can focus on; this really works! Let it go.

Be the best employee you can. If unapproachable, hostile or unwilling to listen, others may not want to attempt discussing any matter at hand. Head up and smile. Positive energy attracts positive energy. Any situation can be used as inspirational opportunity…work hard, expand your skill set, reach higher.

Broaden your communication toolbox. Consult your organizational process assets for approved communication platforms. Utilize a variety of platforms. For example: face to face, video, instant messaging, phone calls, email, mail or a variety of desktop apps. Ask your team their preferences and opinions. You may need to adjust platforms for individual team members.

Be prompt and candid. Communication is a two-way street. Do your part too. If you cannot respond to an email within 24 business hours, inform when you will be able to respond. Define how and when you will follow-up and keep your word. If you need a response, specify. It is also beneficial to let someone know a message has been received and understood. It is just my opinion, but, I feel a read receipt is a little formal and may send the wrong message to an internal employee. If the subject matter is that important, it is probably better to talk to the person directly.

Be patient. It takes time for an individual or an organization to change bad communication habits. Lead by example. It may go unnoticed, but, you have been professional and you will win the race in the long run.

On the other hand, if you have purposely ghosted someone in the workplace, reach out and acknowledge that you dropped the ball, and apologize.  Do not make excuses and do not expect anything in return. A straight apology may go a long way toward mending damage.