My team provides technical support for internal clients – basically an in-house legal department. Tasks flow into the team from a variety of different internal clients.
My team has developed a reputation for going above and beyond. We want to keep that reputation. Team members do not like to say no. They enjoy being experts.
But we are becoming victims of our own success. The workload is increasing dramatically. Burn out and turn-over are likely. I must find a way to manage our response to the inflow of work.
Each of our internal clients sees only their own tasks and naturally believes them to be most important. Some clients try to take advantage of our expertise and have my team do their jobs for them. Some tasks are important to the requestor, but not so important to the overall mission of the organization. My boss appreciates the team’s contribution, but she came from a different area – no “gut” feel. No additional resources are immediately forthcoming.
How can we decline requests and maintain good relations with our clients? How can we get our clients to request only important tasks? How can we get our clients to support our requests for additional resources? Please share techniques you have found effective.
[Assume that I’ve done everything possible to manage within the team. We are as productive and efficient as possible. I’m sure that’s not true – but I want to focus the question.]