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Dear Workforce How Do I Ask For the Boss’s Help

Present your question in the context of a larger workforce planning discussion.
November 12, 2000
Related Topics: Workforce Planning, Dear Workforce

Dear Workforce:

I am the Contract Administrator for a medium-size construction company. Wehave had some field personnel leave recently and I have had to take over theirduties while still performing mine.

My immediate Supervisor expects me to keep up with everything but has notoffered to assist me in any way, even though he hasn't increased his workload. Ineed assistance to keep up. His answer to this problem is that I should trainthe Office Manager to take over some of the administration duties. The Office Manager is extremely busyalso and it would require additional time to train her.

I believe that my Supervisor should assist with some of my duties; he knowshow to do the work. How should I go about initiating a conversation about thismatter without sounding like a whiner? (there is no crying in construction)

-- Michael

A Dear Cryin’ Michael:

Is there a "natural" time approaching to discuss it, such as likean every-six-month performance review time? If so, that might offer a great timeto bring up something like this.

If not, don’t wait ‘till then. Just don’t approach it in a way thatstarts with "please do some of my work." He’ll indeed think you’recrying.

Ask him if the two of you can sit down (or stand up) and meet to plan thebest way to allocate the work and the staff. Let him know things aren’tworking so smoothly now and that this could be a really productive chance towork out a plan.

During that meeting, work together to map out the best way to get the workdone -- who does what. If there are things you can’t do all yourself, let himknow. Offer suggestions on who best could help you. Hopefully, together, you canbrainstorm the most effective allocation of your workforce and the two of youwill see more or less eye-to-eye.

SOURCE: Todd Raphael, Online Editor for Workforce.

E-mail your Dear Workforce questions to Online Editor Todd Raphael at,along with your name, title, organization and location. Unless you stateotherwise, your identifying information may be used on andin Workforce magazine. We can’t guarantee we’ll be able to answerevery question.


 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

If you have any questions or concerns about, please email or call 312-676-9900.

The Workforce fax number is 312-676-9901.

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