Should You Force Your Team to Take Vacations?

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

I have a colleague I need to work closely with at our home office. In person he is hard to reach – closes his door, won’t respond to messages and generally works hard to ignore me. In this virtual world, he has taken it up several notches. I text, email and call him. I send invites to get online, face-to-face together. He literally ignores everything.

He is crucial to my work. How do I get him to respond?


Dear N.U.,

How are you getting your work done? You sound like someone who is willing to put in a lot of effort, so I doubt you are sitting idly by while he ignores you.

Consider how “crucial” his input and involvement is. You might be able to get just so far in a project and then his contribution is necessary. Or maybe he has information that would make your life easier in finishing your work. You are expending a great deal of time and energy trying to get him to respond and, for, whatever reason, he does not see the same criticality that you do.

Consider where and when you need him and get very focused on including him only when necessary.

Assuming he is important to what you are doing and needs to be engaged, reach out to him and say exactly this. Often times people don’t respond because they don’t recognize the significance of the call or message, or they aren’t sure if they can help, or how. Your voice mail could go something like, “I know you are busy (insert name here) and there is work to be done, however I need you for (insert specifics here) by (insert date here). I’ve tried texting, emailing and calling and I’m getting no response. Could you please tell me what I need to do to get (information) by (date)?”