In the modern workforce, one of the biggest reasons for conflict is not that people cannot meet deadlines in the time frame given. Rather that they won’t SPEAK UP if they’re unable to meet that deadline.
What many people do is wait until the last minute to spring a surprise (and a nasty one at that) on their managers by telling them that they won’t be able to deliver on time. They don’t do this deliberately. Sometimes they’re just too terrified of letting the boss know that they’re lagging behind. At other times, they simply don’t make the effort to realistically assess how they’re tracking and how much extra time/resources they’ll need. Because of the absence of forward thinking, they end up creating greater problems not just for themselves, but also for the team.
For example, let’s say you’ve been working on a project for a couple of weeks and the deadline is looming on the horizon. You’ve got to complete and submit the project by next week. Rather than simply sending up a prayer that despite all the odds and obstacles you’ve been facing you’ll somehow miraculously land on your feet, take some time to assess and evaluate how you’re tracking. And if you feel you’re not going to make the deadline, SPEAK UP. And speak up well in advance. Let your boss know.
You may be worried that you’ll be seen as incompetent if you’re unable to meet your goal. However, if you’re generally a conscientious and committed worker, this will not be the case. To avoid being perceived as incompetent, ensure that you don’t simply rock up in your boss’s office and blurt out ‘I can’t do it.’ Go in with a well-thought out analysis of how much you’ve covered already, what tasks haven’t yet been done and why, what obstacles you see surfacing soon and A REVISED DEADLINE. The new deadline you propose should be relatively close to the original one.
Problems and challenges will often crop up in the workplace. But it’s important not to simply present the problem without also suggesting a solution.
Letting your boss know in advance that you’re going to miss a deadline gives her/him enough time to adjust other variables and assign extra resources if required. It also helps them give a status update to those above them on the corporate ladder.
Missing a deadline isn’t a crime as long as you don’t make a habit of it.
Take a moment today to assess how your current project is tracking, what’s holding you back and whether or not you’ll need more time. And then, if it appears that because of a variety of factors, you’re going to miss the deadline, let your boss know sooner rather than later.
As the famous writer Audrey Lorde once said: ‘When we speak, we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.”
Nim Gholkar, 2018
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Copyright Nim Gholkar 2018 All Rights Reserved