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Tag Archives: juggling responsibilities

Build a stronger working relationship with your boss by jointly setting priorities

Business Meeting: Professional Successful Team; Managing DirectoFor the last couple of posts, I’ve been talking about actions you can take to strengthen your working relationship with your boss.  Earlier this week, it was about building trust through consistency in behaviour and action.  Today I want to cover one final topic in this series – how to address conflicting priorities with the full support of your manager or supervisor.

Conflicting priorities are a reality in every single client organization I work with.  Whether they are originating directly from your boss, or from a variety of senior people with whom you have working relationships, it’s not unusual to find yourself in a situation where you’ve got too much to do, not enough time to get it done, and all expected to be done at the same time.  In such situations, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  But there is a solution that can not only ease the pressure but also allow you to strengthen your relationship with your boss at the same time.  Set your priorities jointly with your manager.  This is a lot easier that you might realize.

Boss [insert your manager’s name here], Roger has requested the sales forecast by tomorrow, and we’ve also got the Board presentation and your legal team briefing document that need to be finished right away.  I’m thinking of prioritizing the Board presentation and getting that completed first since it may require additional review.  What do you think?

Did you see what I just did?  I just accomplished several things.  First, I let the boss know that I have conflicting priorities, so he is now part of the solution.  Second, I started a dialogue about how to rank several important tasks and the ensuing conversation will give me greater insight into what my boss considers to have the greatest urgency.  Third, whatever approach I now take, my boss is on board and supportive of it, which means that even if things don’t turn out exactly the way we expected, I can still count on the boss to have my back.  Bottom line: jointly setting priorities makes this a team effort, and if you can do that, you’ve strengthened your relationship with your boss.

Comments?  Please share your thoughts below.

Stop working on the weekend!

Businessman using modern smartphone or mobile phone. New technolBack in 2011, we conducted a fun informal poll at our website that asked the question: What is your single biggest time waster at work? And the top two answers were Other people and Email. I had that poll in my mind when I also realized that we (in Canada and the United States at least) are heading into a long weekend, so today’s blog post seems particularly timely – how not to get caught in the trap of working on the weekend.  Now many of you are from countries other than Canada and the United States, and others of you work unusual shifts, so translate the topic to be “how not to get caught in the trap of working on your days off”.

The problem is that in today’s highly-connected tech world, so many of us can’t seem to shut work down when we’re supposed to be off. In fact, some of the leaders in my client organizations have sheepishly admitted to regularly saying out loud “I’ll get that done over the weekend.” I say it’s gotta stop!

But how? Continue reading

If you have too much to do at work, help someone else

I overheard two people the other day involved in an escalating discussion about who was more busy.  As one person complained about how much she had to get done, the other one vied to show how long his to-do list was.  Then he told her about the consequences of not meeting a work deadline and she narrated the terrible result of missing an appointment.  This went on and on, back and forth, for about 10 minutes.  I glanced over at my business colleague who was composedly eating her sandwich seated across from me at our small table.  She smiled, well aware that I had been unabashedly eavesdropping on the neighbouring conversation.

“I’d handle it differently,” she said, in response to my unspoken comment. Continue reading

Achieving work-life balance is like juggling many balls

If you’re in a position of leadership, then you’re certainly trying to balance your professional with your personal life.  And just in the workplace alone, you no doubt are organizing and managing a myriad of varied and far-reaching responsibilities.  So it’s safe to say that at any point in time, no matter what your individual situation, you’re juggling countless tasks and duties.

BallsFor a moment, think of yourself as a juggler, and all these responsibilities as balls that you’re attempting to keep aloft.  At any given time, you likely have scores of balls in the air, and on some days, it feels like all you’re doing is struggling (and scurrying from one place to another) to ensure that none of these balls hit the ground.  Now imagine that some of these balls are made of rubber and some are made of glass.  Rubber balls are elastic and resilient; when they fall, they easily bounce back.  But the glass balls are rigid and inflexible; when they fall, they shatter!  If this were indeed true, then you’d make it a point to take special care of the glass balls, wouldn’t you?  If you had to drop any balls, you’d let the rubber ones fall because you know that they’d bounce right back up.

So let’s take this metaphor further.  Your various day-to-day responsibilities can be sorted into glass balls and rubber balls.  For the most part, anything related to people relationships – with your employees, peers, managers, family and loved ones – are equivalent to glass balls.  If you drop these, then the impact can be far-reaching and in some cases devastating.  And largely, anything related to administrative tasks are equivalent to rubber balls.  While it certainly isn’t a good idea to drop an excessive number of these too often, the impact is nevertheless not as great as if you dropped the glass balls.  This metaphor would suggest that if you had to drop a ball or two, it should be the rubber ones.  Yet so many people, when faced with this very predicament, let their relationships falter.  They work at keeping the task-related rubber balls in the air, but they let their people-oriented glass balls fall.  It sure doesn’t make sense, does it?  What about you?  Which balls do you keep aloft, and which ones do you let drop?