“I have too much to do”

    Business Spotlight 5/2019
    Illustration: Teambesprechung
    © Yann Bastard
    Von Bob Dignen

    How many times do you have conversations with others at work that focus on them telling you that they have too much to do? This is a type of conversation that often to infuriate sb.jmdn. wütend macheninfuriates senior leaders, who generally work longer hours. The last thing they want to hear from a team member who they think should actually be contributing more is that they are overworked. Leaders often see such comments as statements of inefficiency that really mean: “I’m not able to prioritize the tasks I have to do in the time available to me.”

    Some team members may also find such statements irritatingärgerlichirritating and see them as a claim for unfair recognition that those who “just to get on with itmit etw. weitermachen; hier: seine Arbeit machenget on with it” in silence don’t make. But what else might be the motivation for statements claiming that people have too much to do?


    How can leaders engage with sth.sich mit etw. befassenengage with the different types of motivations that are to reveal sth.etw. offenbarenrevealed to us by such conversations?

    • Such statements might be an appeal for help. It could be that the person really does have too much work, is stressed and would love support to get through a peak period of work. Not everyone is a superhero. We all need help sometimes. If this is the case, then you should offer to help them. Find ways to take some tasks off the person to to alleviate sth.etw. lindernalleviate their stress.
    • They might mean that the person has too many boring tasks. The person could be communicating a desire for more engaginghier: ansprechend, attraktivengaging tasks. Perhaps they would even do more work if it were the right type of work. An effective leadership response would be to discover what types of work the person enjoys and then look to reorganize their job to make it more motivating.
    • They might signal a desire for more recognition. Such a statement could simply mean: “Hey, I’m doing a lot of work. I enjoy it. It motivates me. But from time to time, it would be great if you saw how much work I did and said something nice to me about that.” Perhaps all that is needed here is to listen. Let the person feel heard, understood and to appreciate sb.jmdn. anerkennen, schätzenappreciated. It also doesn’t hurt simply to say: “I know, and you’re doing a great job.”

    What people say at work doesn’t always reflect what they mean, what they want to say or what they should be saying. But everything they say tells you something about their motivation, their professional needs, their personal identities and their feelings about you.

    The opportunity to motivate someone else is available in the next conversation you have at work. Take that opportunity!


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