Managing Workplace Stress by Clarifying Your Role
By Guest Blogger – Tony Deblauwe
Are you having difficulty managing workplace stress because there is simply too much on your plate? When the responsibilities of your position are unclear, this will make you feel overloaded. Clarifying the scope of your job duties and your role within the organization can offer relief. You will be able to prioritize and organize your day-to-day activities much more easily.
Also, you can unload tasks that are rightfully part of a co-worker’s (or boss’s) job function. When you no longer feel stuck trying to do it all, you will perform more effectively and productively. This will increase your sense of satisfaction and your confidence in your own abilities.
Reduce Your Workload
Make a list of everything you do within your department. Don’t try to do this in one day – you will leave stuff out. Spend at least a week writing down each task that is assigned to you and those you do without being asked. Think back over the past 30 days and add any recurring monthly chores (such as inventory, reports, or bookkeeping). Label this document List A.
Next, review List A and transfer any tasks that you believe are not really your responsibility to a second list (List B). Review the new, shorter version of List A with your boss. Ask him to verify that these are your expected duties. Ask if there are any other assigned responsibilities that you have forgotten to include. Give your boss a few days to think about this.
Then, if he has nothing to add it is time to bring out List B (which you haven’t mentioned until now). Discuss the fact that these are additional tasks you are currently performing. Let your boss know that you have been picking up the slack since you weren’t sure who was supposed to be doing these things. Tell him you are ready to pass these tasks on to any of his employees he feels are being underutilized.
Best case scenario, your boss will respect that you are standing up for yourself and support your efforts in managing workplace stress proactively. Worst case, he or she will want you to keep on doing everything on List B. Now is the time to negotiate since your boss is (by his or her own admission) asking you to go above and beyond your duties. Treat this as a personal favor and set a timeline for him or her to find someone else to take over these tasks.
Increase Your Earnings
Create List A as described above. The, get your hands on an organization chart for your department. This critical diagram showing your assigned place in the “big picture” of the department. Also, obtain a detailed copy of the job description for your position if one is available. You may well find that your actual duties include far more than the responsibilities that apply to your current pay grade.
Part of this is the natural process of becoming increasingly more productive over time. Development and expansion of your capabilities is expected and creates valuable learning opportunities for you. However, if you are in a position with no direct reports and yet are training/supervising new employees without formal recognition, it’s time to address the issue. The same applies if you have become an in-house expert department leaders turn to for special projects.
Managing stress is always easier if you don’t feel your work is underpaid and unappreciated. Choose this time to negotiate for an increase in pay and/or a promotion. It may even be possible to have a new position created in the org chart that more accurately represents your contribution to the company. Discuss which job duties can be handed down to a less senior employee so you can concentrate on the core functions of your new position.
Mr. Tony Deblauwe
Tony Deblauwe is a Workplace Expert based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
He is an award-winning and regular contributor to career social networks sites
such as Brazen Careerist and TrackAhead. He directs the Innovation
Committee for Career Directors International.
For more information on Tony, please visit: http://www.workbabble.com