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Business Communication/how can i say no to extra task in nice way to my manager


Im a team lead and have consistently achieved my metrics and individual goals during my first 6 months with company. Because of my proven track record, my manager has reached out to me to take on a 3 month special project.
my manager expressed confidence in my ability to complete this project and noted that I am the best person for the job. While I find this flattering and see it as an opportunity to demonstrate my skills, I am aware that I already have a lot on my plate. As such, accepting this task might mean “biting off more than I can chew”. I don’t want to appear as though I am avoiding additional responsibility, but afraid that accepting it, might mean I don’t deliver on my promises. If this were to happen, Im quite sure that this lack of follow through would result in a poor score rating. How will I handle this situation?

You ask a sobering question facing many employees. Rather than hiring, companies tend to pile responsibilities on the backs of existing staff. With jobless rates still high, many employees feel forced to take on more responsibilities than they can reasonably handle.

These extra tasks mean longer working hours and higher expectations, yet they seldom come with increased pay, benefits, bonuses, or other significant rewards. The result: lower job satisfaction, higher stress, and other issues that reduce job performance and quality of life.

Yet, as you point out, going the “extra mile” can create a chance to shine. Being relatively new in your position, the way you handle this situation could set the tone for your entire career with this company.

First, you don’t want to flatly say “No” to your boss. He or she may have no idea of how much time it takes to excel and lead your team and complete your existing projects. You might have made it look easy, by meeting the expectations of your first six months.

Now is the time to get a handle on future expectations, educate your supervisor on your workload, and receive solid feedback on current company priorities. Here is one approach that could improve your relationships with both your supervisor and your team.

First, put together a brief report on your workload, and schedule time to discuss it with your supervisor. Take a close look at both existing responsibilities and the extra work the special project would likely add.
•   Estimate the cost of time and materials to complete the work.
•   Are there ways to manage workflow to reduce demands on your time?
•   Are there others available to handle certain responsibilities, freeing you up time to devote time to the new project?
•   Can you make other suggestions to avoid overloading yourself and your team, while completing key parts of your projects?
•   What would you most like to see happen?

By discussing demands on your time in the context of company priorities, you provide your boss with valuable information and elicit guidance on how best to proceed.

When you take the initiative to prepare and express your understanding of the firm’s existing and future priorities, you demonstrate your earnest interest in achieving management and corporate goals without compromising performance on ongoing projects. That is one indicator of an engaged, valuable employee.

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Maureen A. Jung, Ph.D.


I can answer questions related to: What to do--and what not to do--in business communication. Tips for more effective communication in print, on paper, in person, and via electronic media. Grammar, punctuation, and tone-related questions. How to Say ‘No’ without negativity. How to plan, format, write, and review your messages, letters, articles, etc.


More than 20 years' experience as a communication consultant, business writer, editor, communication trainer, and writing group leader. I've provided communication training workshops, seminars, and writing services to businesses and organizations for more than 25 years, and edited and/or researched 15 non-fiction books for other authors. I've been a columnist and contributing writer to many publications, wrote a successful $15-million health care grant for a nonprofit organization, and wrote two White House presentations.

Florida Writer's Assn.; Clay County Writers, Writing Group Leader; American Business Women's Assn.; Medical Managers of Northeast Florida; Law Office Support (Jacksonville, FL)

Comstock's Business Magazine, California History, Living Blues Magazine, American Archivist, Sacramento Business Journal, Sutter/Yuba Business Journal, California Mining Review, Red Voices, Insurgent Sociologist, Social Forces, Sacramento News and Review, Coastlines, Sociological Spectrum, etc. In 2009, I wrote the book: Many Pathways: Planting Seeds for Communities in Recovery (2009).

B.A. Sociology, Colorado State University M.A., Ph.D., Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara Fellow of the South Coast Writing Project since 1984, a think tank for writing teachers affiliated with the National Writing Project Post-graduate studies in history and archives, California State University, Sacramento

Awards and Honors
Charles Spaulding Research Prize, University of California, Santa Barbara (for my M.A. thesis); Theodore Calvin Pease Award, Society of American Archivists (for an article based on my dissertation research); Invited Contributor, California Sesquicentennial Project, for my article: "Capitalism Comes to the Diggings," published in: A Golden State, Mining and Economic Development in Gold Rush California.

Past/Present Clients
Huntley, Mullaney, Spargo & Sullivan, Inc.; Cox Ferrall, Sales Wisdom Now!; Groeteke Resources, Jacksonville; California Mining Assn.; Central Valley Rock, Sand & Gravel Assn.; Sacramento City University; SolutionsWest, ITEX Corporation; Dr. Wilson C. Riles; Capital Program Management; Small Business Resource Center, Inc.; Vanir Construction Management; Prime Time Boxing; California Rural Indian Health Board, Inc.; Trumbull Insurance Agency, etc.

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