Here is an excerpt from an article written by Suzanne Lucas for BNET, The CBS Interactive Business Network. To check out an abundance of valuable resources and obtain a free subscription to one or more of the BNET newsletters, please click here.
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The description of duties on your official job description are nothing like what your boss asks you to do each day. At least that’s the problem that many people face. SmartMoney calls this “Extreme Multi-Tasking” and it is definitely a big problem for many.
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So, can you say no when a boss asks you to do something that is clearly not part of the normal job description? Well, a better question is “Should you say no?” There are consequences to our actions and going against a boss’s request will have consequences. Here are 7 things to consider:
[Here are four of the seven. To read the complete article, please click here.]
1. Is it important for the success of the business? If you’re working in a busy restaurant kitchen and the sink gets clogged, it’s critical that it’s fixed, even if that means the chef has to get out the plunger. However, if you work in an office building and one out of the 4 bathroom sinks in the women’s bathroom is a bit sluggish, that’s not critical and can wait for maintenance. Evaluate if this is something that matters.
2. Can you give something else up? Not all the tasks done in any given company are critical. If an evaluation of the “out of job description” tasks shows that it’s critical to the business’ success, is there something else less critical you can give up? Be willing to give a critical eye to your tasks and (if you’re the boss) the tasks of your employees and figure out what can go.
3. Is this easy for you to do? If you’re the first one in in the morning, it makes sense for you to make a pot of coffee, even if you don’t drink it. If you’re doing 3 graphs based on one set of data, it makes sense for you to do the fourth as well. You already understand the data.
4. What’s in it for you? If these new tasks are ones that will give you new knowledge, skills and abilities that will ultimately help your career advance, there’s far more motivation to take on a new, even difficult task. If it consists of things you did 5 years ago, you may want to suggest that a junior colleague who would grown from these tasks take them over. You can also ask for an increase in salary and/or title to go along with the additional tasks.
If you decide to say no, there will be consequences. Here are some suggestions for making it go more smoothly.
• Don’t say no immediately. This isn’t just a negotiating technique. This gives you the chance to truly think over the problem.
• Present an alternate plan. This could be someone else doing it, outsourcing it, not doing the task or giving up something else. This needs to be more than, “I did blah, blah, blah last time. It’s Jennifer’s turn!”
• Show how your time is more valuable elsewhere. It doesn’t make sense for the lawyer bringing in $350 an hour to clean out the file cabinet. Keep in mind, though, that if your boss just wants an exempt employee to work longer hours, this argument won’t go anywhere.
Your boss wants you to think that she has all the power in a situation like this, but keep in mind it’s far more expensive to recruiter, hire and train someone than it is to hire a plumber for a couple of hours. But, also remember that if the company goes under because people weren’t willing to take on additional tasks, you’ll be just as unemployed.
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Suzanne Lucas spent 10 years in corporate Human Resources. She’s hired, fired, and analyzed the numbers for several major companies. She founded the Carnival of HR, a bi-weekly gathering of HR blogs, and her writings have been used in HR certification and management training courses across the country.
Saturday, May 14, 2011 Posted by Bob Morris | Bob's blog entries | “Extreme Multi-Tasking” is definitely a big problem for many, BNET, BNET newsletters, Can you give something else up?, Can You Say No To Your Boss?, Carnival of HR, Don’t say no immediately, Is it important for the success of the business?, Is this easy for you to do?, Is this temporary or permanent?, Present an alternate plan, Show how your time is more valuable elsewhere, Suzanne Lucas, The CBS Interactive Business Network, What’s in it for you? | Leave a Comment
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