|We call this internal outsourcing|
Having a power tripping manager is bad, but there’s a special kind of manager that deserves a separate post: the “Bobblehead” Manager. What makes this manager special is that it can come in many forms – power tripping, amiable, happy, sad – you name it. You can identify a Bobblehead Manager by his unrelenting habit of volunteering to take on additional tasks with no intention of ever completing them, which consequently creates additional work for the rest of the team. If you’re not careful in how you handle these situations of work cascading down to you, you will find yourself in over your head before you know it. There are two things you can do to make sure this doesn’t happen.
First, always clarify your priorities. If you already have nine things to do and the Bobblehead tells you that you need to do number ten, your response should be something along the lines of “Ok, I understand this is my top priority now, so these nine other things will be secondary. Are you ok with that?” Asking this simple question will help filter important activities from those that are just nice to have.
The second thing you need to do is set realistic expectations on timelines. The last thing you need in a situation where you have an unexpected increase in workload is to back yourself into a corner by committing to unreasonable deadlines. Be honest with yourself and your stakeholders, and you can jointly come up with an acceptable and achievable solution. Trust me – asking for help and/or feedback is not a sign of weakness, and it ALWAYS works out better than you not delivering on a commitment.
Both of these things require practice to hone and perfect but will pay off big in the long-run once you have a handle on how/when to use them.
If you have tried other effective approaches to address additional requests when you’re already at full capacity, please share in the comments!