This Is The Right Way To Tell Your Boss You’re Swamped

There’s nothing quite as horrifying as feeling as though you’re drowning underneath your own workload. It’s a heart-wrenching, lump-in-the-throat feeling of dread, like you’re caught in quicksand and can’t get out. But you can – and it’s got nothing to do with admitting defeat.

We all know asking for help isn’t easy, but according to the Harvard Business Review there is a right way to do it (and you should do it).

Asking for things at work can be hard, and there’s two good reasons for that. First, because it’s in our nature to want to be liked, and if we tell our superiors that we can’t handle things, we think we might come across as a complainer (and nobody likes a complainer). Second, we’re determined and ambitious workers, and we want to try to solve problems on our own, just to show that we can.


So here’s what Harvard thinks you should do: instead of coming to your boss with a list of problems like “I’m too busy” or “Can’t someone else do it?” come with a list of suggested solutions – three, in fact.

Start by reminding your boss that your goals are in line with the company’s goals, explain what it is that’s causing the problem, then be specific with three ideas of how to actually solve the situation – which tasks can be delegated, delayed or diminished? To finish, explain what benefits these changes will have to the company.

So in short, don’t bring problems, bring solutions.

[h/t: Harvard Business Review, Science of Us]
Lead Image: The Office/NBC