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Ask Dan
Q.
I've been assigned duties that extend way beyond my job description. How do I say 'no" without my boss thinking I'm not a team player?

A.
You are not alone: A full 65 percent of executives surveyed in a Deloitte Consulting LLP poll rated the "overwhelmed employee" as an "urgent" or "important" problem, with 44 percent admitting they were "not ready" to deal with it.

This is the new normal, where companies are forced to do more with less – a burden they then pass on to their employees. Anytime there is an opportunity to increase your duties and learn new skills on a job, you generally increase your value to the company, and accordingly your personal worth and wealth. However, piling new duties on top of old ones sets you up to fail. Plus it often leads to resentment, which isn't a good thing for either party.

My advice is to first thank your boss for thinking of you regarding the additional work. Next, tell him that while you appreciate his display of confidence in you, your current job responsibilities are demanding all the time you have available. Lastly, offer him a way around this roadblock. For example, suggest trading some old duties for new ones. If possible, suggest a co-worker who might be able to handle your former duties and offer to help transfer them to that person. In this way, you are providing your boss with what he wants by helping you shed some duties to acquire others – proving yourself to be a team player. E



Dan Lumpkin, organizational psychologist, is the president of management-consulting company Lumpkin & Associates in Fairhope, AL. Need answers? Email your career-related questions to askdan@exhibitormagazine.com.
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