Submitted by amlryan on
Hi, I would like to here some advice about this situation. I am in a position where my boss has people complaining about the amount of work they have to do so she is shifting tasks around. I am her highest level direct report who doesn't say no to new tasks so she often hands them off to me. It doesn't make sense to me, a manager who makes $60K says they are too busy to handle this so you pass it up to a manager making $100K.
What do you think I should do, keep taking the lower level tasks and filling my time with that or push back?
Delegate the tasks
I think there are a few approaches to take here. First, I would not want to be one of the complainers. I imagine you and your team are top performers and that is one of the big reasons your boss is filling your plate. Are these tasks that you must do? They are probably important to someone. Possibly an opportunity to delegate some of them to you team and develop them? If they are truly management tasks, your directs may get pretty excited about the new opportunities.
Then at your next update (one on one if you have them) with your boss, I would make it a point to let her know how well (your direct) is doing with their new responsibilities.
Hope that helps.
Help Your Boss Succeed
It sounds like a Juggling Koan situation (http://www.manager-tools.com/2007/01/the-juggling-koan).
It doesn't much matter what the other managers said. How are you helping your boss succeed?
When your boss is passing you a ball, take it and look at all the balls you have. See if there are any that you can pass along to your directs. I don't think your boss is requiring you to do the task, but to make sure the task gets done. If you can pass it along to a $50K employee and they can get it done in a reasonable amount of time, the company and your boss still win.
One of the things I enjoy is when Mark talks about having the team right next to another manager who isn't doing what Manager Tools recommends. It sounds like you're in that situation. Demonstrate to your boss that your team gets done what it needs to for the company. Show how your team is growing through coaching and delegation made possible by your One-on-Ones and feedback. Show that your directs know how to handle a Juggling Koan as well. When you can get your directs promoted into the positions of the managers around you, you succeed, your former directs succeed, and the company succeeds.
Each time you hear a peer complaining about the work they have, it is the sound of one more opportunity to prove that your team can get the work done where others couldn't.
If it sounds like you'll be taking on more work than your team can get done, consider that the directs of your peers are also watching what's happening. They see that you're giving people at their level more responsiblity than their manager has been giving them. When you open a new position within your team to complete the added work the team is taking on, they will bewaiting in line to work for you.