The business manager with Laura Murphy: “I can’t cope”

Question: “My manager takes long liquid lunches and neglects her work. I have to pick up the pieces when I can’t even cope with my own workload. How do I tell her how I feel? Petra

Answer: “Unless this behaviour is accepted practice at managerial level then you can guarantee that her boss already knows what’s happening. They’ve either decided to ignore it or may well be taking steps to deal with it. In any event you can’t take responsibility for her behaviour, only your own so stop picking up her pieces.

Analyse what it is about the workloads that makes you feel you can’t cope. Differentiate what is yours, what you’ve been “picking up” and why. Then focus on your own workload and be brutally honest with yourself. Are your skills and abilities not up to the job or is it the sheer volume of work? Whatever it is plan how the issue can be dealt with and then go to your manager with the solution. If you don’t get the help you ask for, go to her boss or your HR manager, whatever is your company’s policy. Explain what you’ve asked for and that steps are not being taken to help you. The response will help you decide whether you want to continue working within the company or whether you should move on.”

Laura is an organisation development specialist and executive coach with mtc2 ltd and was Highly Commended in the Eastbourne Business Awards Business Person of the Year. To solve your problem email laura@mtc2.co.uk Tweet @WayfinderWoman Names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality.