How to say 'no' to your boss

I had another discussion today where the person was asking about how they handled a boss who is overloading them with work.

Yes, you're there to do a job and your boss - director, manager, team leader is the person who organises and manages your workload.

That doesn't mean you have to accept everything they give to you.  Especially if they're overloading you with work or being unreasonable.

Communicate - they may not realise how much you're already doing - unless you tell them.

Prioritise your workload - so you know which tasks are important and when they need to be completed.  If you're not sure or you haven't been given clear guidelines - ask.

If you just keep accepting work and adding to your workload, you're likely to end up working longer hours, not working as well as you could, stressed out and exhausted.

Plan and organise your work - so you know what you have to do, when you're going to do it and how long it's likely to take. Create a list with all your tasks, priority, who it's for, when it's needed, time estimate and progress.

If it's 4pm on a Friday afternoon and your boss asks you to do something before the end of the day - is that a reasonable expectation? What impact does it have on your other tasks.

Be clear with your boundaries.  If you plan to finish at 5pm and you don't have time for this additional task - say so.  Reprioritise - what do you need to drop in order to get it done? Respect your time and others will respect you.

They may not actually be very good at delegating - managers sometimes have a habit of dumping last minutes tasks on other people because they haven't had time to do it themselves, they've forgotten, are disorganised or they're overloaded themselves.

Effective delegation - if you're given a task - make sure you know when (it needs to be done by), what (needs to be done), how(are you going to do it) and understand (how it fits in with your/your team's objectives).

If you find you're constantly juggling different priorities and more keep getting piled on - ask your boss to prioritise the work for you or get extra support.  Which piece is more important, what needs to be completed first?  Delegate some of your own work to free up more of your time.

Of course, if you're not using your time productively or need help to improve your planning and organising - get in touch or you can make a start by completing the free Time Audit.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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