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 tell you how I did it, and got 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 necessarily know what work is being presented to you? Even if your boss is the one giving you the work directly, he or she may not be aware 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.
Let Your Boss Prioritize Your Workload
I realized that all I really needed to do was level out my workload with one task at a time. One might consider that "workload management." In order 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 special way so that it makes me look good. It was important that I don't come across as complaining.
I went into my boss’s office and asked politely if I may speak with him. I explained that I had these various task assigned to me that needed to get done.
I clearly described 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 task.
I continued with 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.
The reaction was very positive. He was extremely pleased that I gave him the courtesy to let him make the decision about 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. He told me what priority he preferred for each task. That gave me the opportunity 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 good 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 am allowed to give you."
The company had a certain pay range that my boss needed to abide by. However, he 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 you know how I handled this, you will be prepared to communicate effectively with your boss in a way that works for you.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
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© 2009 Glenn Stok