The ‘me’ in team

The 'me' in team - Careers by Design

But while it's easy to go home and complain to your spouse, dealing with a workload-related conflict begins with you, says Toronto career-coach Shirin Khamisa.

“When you have a situation where you feel that you’re doing a lot more than you should be doing, I think it’s a really good idea to start with yourself,” she says. After all, working in a group is “a chance to display personal leadership, and a chance to shine.”

Contributing to a group requires emotional control, as well as an understanding of yourself and your colleagues. It also means setting clear boundaries and respecting that everyone on a team has their own responsibilities.

Avoid resentment not by choosing to take on someone else’s responsibilities, but by sharing knowledge with them (remember the “teach a man to fish” philosophy).

“If you can empower a colleague … then there’s a lot less chance they’ll be knocking on your door again and again,” she says. Being a leader doesn’t mean working the hardest, but instead inspiring others and building relationships with people in your team.

Of course, if your colleague is dealing with personal difficulties, taking on a little bit more may be the right thing to do.

“I think it’s important to be considerate and empathetic, and to put yourself in someone’s shoes, because there’s going to be a time where you need that too,” she says.

That said, if you’re feeling overworked for an extended period of time — whether due to a colleague’s struggles, or confusion about your own job responsibilities — communicate your concerns with your supervisor.

“A good way to approach that is to be really clear about what’s on your plate and how much you can handle and how much you can’t,” says Khamisa. “Younger workers especially sometimes feel like they should be able to handle everything or take on everything, because they don’t have anything to compare it to. But sometimes, you have to be courageous and have that conversation with your supervisor,” says Khamisa.

Clarifying your role can reduce excessive work, but don’t approach your boss on a day where you’re feeling frustrated. Take some time to relax and to draft a document outlining your responsibilities, to help your supervisor understand everything you’re juggling. With this information, they should be able to better assess how the work can be prioritized or distributed.

Since there will always be co-workers happy to take advantage of your helpfulness, it’s important to remember that we teach people how to treat us. As a result, it’s important to assess why you’re taking on extra work, says Khamisa. …

View full team article at http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/ed/story.html?id=b3692729-8260-4b8e-98e1-8c5a1fc2c5a4&k=70565

Career Knowledge Centre