How to Tell Your Boss You Have Too Much Work
Are you feeling overwhelmed with all the work piling up on your desk? I had that experience when I was a Systems Analyst in a corporate office.
I discovered the best way to tell my boss I had too much work. I'll let you know how I did it with positive results.
Communicate Effectively With Your Boss
I had a load of work with many assignments piling up because other people in the company came to our department for support. We were the Systems Services Department for the corporate computer system.
My boss may not always have been aware of what the other department personnel were requesting of me, and I knew it was important to let him know.
Do you have a similar situation where your boss doesn't know what work has been assigned to you by other managers in the company?
Even if your boss is the only one giving you the work directly, he or she may not be aware of how much time is required to complete all the tasks.
It’s not easy to deal with this kind of situation. You may feel that if you complain about it, your boss may think less of you.
I gave some thought to how I can present my dilemma to my boss without making it sound like I was complaining. I came up with a brilliant idea.
Your situation may be different, but the main idea I'm about to present to you will work under any circumstances.
Don't Be a Victim
Many people only focus on how they are affected by overwork. They don't consider the other side, that of their office manager.
The attitude of feeling victimized doesn't leave room for a solution. However, you can achieve the results you want by showing your boss that you are open to hearing his or her feelings too.
Let Your Boss Prioritize Your Workload
I realized that all I needed to do was level out my workload with one task at a time. One might consider that "workload management."
To achieve this so that I can work on one thing at a time, I needed to set a priority on each task. However, I knew I needed to discuss that with my boss?
I needed to present my dilemma in a particular way so that it makes me look good. It was vital that I didn't come across as complaining.
I went into my boss’s office and politely asked if I may speak with him. I explained that I had these various tasks assigned to me that I needed to get done.
I clearly outlined all the tasks so he knew what they were. By describing them, I showed that I had a good grasp of the importance of each job.
I continued by saying that I wanted to know what priority he felt I should give to each item. That was the clincher. I didn't know it then, but that had a powerful effect on his response.
His reaction was very positive. He was extremely pleased that I gave him the courtesy to let him decide on the priority of each assignment.
I was just trying to let him know that I was overloaded with work, without sounding like a complaint. Because of the way I presented it to him, he realized that I was considering his feelings on the matter.
The outcome was just what I needed. My boss told me what priority he preferred for each task. That allowed me to work on only one thing at a time. The result was a lot less stress.
Doing one thing at a time, without worrying that I'm not getting the other things done, was really helpful. The outcome was that I did each job better because I was able to concentrate on each task one at a time.
Your Boss Will Want to Give You a Raise
There’s more! There was a rewarding side effect I discovered, one that I hadn't considered before. Your boss will remember your attitude.
When the time came for my review for a raise, my boss reminded me about what I had done.
He said to me, “Do you remember the time you asked me about the priority of your assignments?”
Not knowing what he was going to say about this, I timidly said, “Yes, I remember.”
Then he told me that my approach showed him that I was considerate of how he felt about the order of importance.
He continued, "And you deserve the best raise that I'm allowed to give you."
The company had a distinct pay range that managers needed to follow. However, my boss gave me a raise at the top end of that range. My method of communicating with him helped me beyond my expectations.
"You deserve the best raise that I am allowed to give you."
Summary of the Key Points
You can do it too. Just remember the key points:
- Clearly describe all the tasks.
- Be courteous with your presentation.
- Make it clear that you want your boss's input on priorities.
- Make sure you don't use words that sound like you're complaining.
Now that I told you how I handled this, you will know how to communicate effectively with your boss in a way that works for you.
© 2009 Glenn Stok