Did your manager give you another project and you feel overloaded and need to tell them you have too much to complete and you are feeling stressed?
This is a common situation in the workplace and although it feels impossible, there is a way that you can communicate this to your superior without sounding as though you are not a team player. In fact, this conversation could show just how onboard and helpful you are.
I think any conversation isn’t always in what you are saying rather how you are saying it. With a little practice and planning, this conversation could be designed to have a positive effect on you, your team, and your manager.
First, you will want to acknowledge them with gratitude and positivity.
Express appreciation for the confidence they have shown in you and your ability to do take on the project. This will set the tone for a positive discussion as you are showing appreciation and gratitude for your position and your workload.
Secondly, express your concern.
Explain to your supervisor your current workload in a positive manner with facts such as due dates and percents to completion. Let them know that you could take on this project however if you take it, it will affect the ability for you to focus on other projects, or the expected delivery date would be pushed past when they expect it to be done.
This allows your superior to understand the time constraints and help you order your projects in a manner so they can all be done on time. It may be that they are asking you to do something and know that another project could wait, or it could prompt them to offer assistance from another person or department.
Offer a time to discuss the project.
Express that you would like to discuss the project. Offer alternative solutions or ways to complete the project and see if you can enlist the help of others on the team to get the project started. Offer your help to find a solution for the completion of the project and the involvement of the team.
This will show the team that although you are busy you are dedicated to working out solutions for issues and you take responsibility for projects assigned to you.
The conversation might sound like this…
“Thank you so much for showing confidence in my abilities to perform this project, I am honored at the level of trust you have in my abilities. My only concern is that I’m managing projects x, m, and k with deadlines at the end of the week and I do not want any of those projects to suffer as a result of this project. May we please set up a time to speak about how we could manage this? Potentially we could balance this project with the other project manager and I can pick it up after the deadline at the end of the week?”
Have you ever had to have this conversation with your superior?
How did it go? Do you think your manager would be receptive to this conversation? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
I hope that you find this tip helpful for communicating with your leadership team in the workplace. As always your comments and questions are appreciated. Please feel free to send me any business etiquette questions you have and I will try to answer them in my ‘Elegantly in Charge’ blog posts each Wednesday.