Work can get hectic. There’s no getting around it. Don’t dread it. Leverage the opportunity to demonstrate your leadership and advance your career. Here are three ways to impress your boss when it gets busy at work:
Dealing with chaos at work boils down to choices. You have a lot of tasks to complete. What are you going to do first? What can be put on the back burner?
Think about what your manager needs first and the deadlines that are coming up. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says she manages her time with "ruthless prioritization." Do what Sheryl Sandberg does and ruthlessly prioritize. Write down all the work that is on your plate, number tasks in order of priority and then group tasks that are similar. Make sure you are focusing on what is important.
Leaders make decisions and act. This is your opportunity to show your manager your decision-making skills.
2. Check in with your manager.
The last thing you want to do is bury yourself in work and not maintain communication with your colleagues. Communicate regularly with your manager. To ensure you are both on the same page, share with your manager what you have prioritized to get their feedback.
Leaders communicate, so show your manager that you can. Ask questions, particularly if your manager is not forthcoming with information or you are unclear about her priorities. If you need guidance, ask questions about how a project relates to the overall business objectives of the organization and whether a project is tied to other time-sensitive projects if you sense conflicting priorities. Your priorities may change. What you focus on may ebb and flow as you continue to communicate with your manager. Don’t run the risk of realizing that you misplaced your time and energy on a less important project.
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3. Keep regular hours, for the most part.
When things get hectic at work, it is easy to prioritize work over personal well-being. Don’t. First, work is a marathon, not a sprint. Work will always be there, so identify a pace that will allow you to maintain your productivity and effectiveness. Second, avoid projecting an image that you are a slave to your work. Your manager may appreciate your commitment to your job but may question whether you are capable of handling more responsibility.
You may occasionally have to stay later or arrive earlier at work. But do not make it a habit. Leaders have boundaries. Set boundaries, and stick to them like the other principles that help you to have the quality of life you want.
Busy times call for leadership measures. Be decisive, communicate and set boundaries. You have the ability to control the chaos and shine. The next time you enter a hectic period at work, leverage the opportunity to demonstrate your leadership.