By Rachel Culverwell, CITMA Paralegal, Keltie LLP
It is quite likely that at some point in your working life, you will need to talk to your manager, HR or other relevant work colleague about an issue that you feel uncomfortable discussing. This could be following an external event such as a bereavement, personal health concern or an internal issue such as a problem with another colleague or with your workload. This section is designed to help you manage these difficult conversations.
Requesting a meeting allows you to prepare what you are going to say in advance and ensures you have time and privacy. If you can, check out your manager’s diary and suggest a few dates/times that suit both of you.
Tariq is regularly given tasks by his fee earner that need to be completed in a timeframe that is often completely unrealistic. His current project is a cost estimate which needs to be ready for sending to the client within two days. This deadline doesn’t account for the time it takes to receive the relevant information from the associates, calculate the costs and present the data in a format ready for sending out.
Tariq is starting to feel very stressed by this and it is impacting his family life as his partner is feeling increasingly unsupported with help with their two small children. After a visit to the GP for recurring migraines, which the GP has put down to stress, Tariq arranges to see his fee earner to explain the situation and the impact it is having on his health and home life.
Tariq is very nervous about this as he expects the fee earner to tell him that this kind of stress is part of the job. He prepares well for the meeting and manages to stay calm throughout, explaining the situation and why it is so difficult.
The fee earner was a bit shocked at first as they had only been looking at the situation from their own perspective and felt that Tariq was coping as he always managed to get things done so well. They were able to see it from Tariq’s point of view and acknowledge why it might be difficult. The fee earner also seemed willing to own how their behaviour in leaving things to the last minute could have an impact on Tariq. They had not really taken this into account before. Together the two of them managed to agree on a satisfactory way forward.
They agreed to build in regular reviews so the situation didn’t build up again, which given the nature of the work was very likely. Tariq was greatly relieved and appreciated the fee earner’s willingness to listen and take account of the pressure they unwittingly put on him. They both came away from the meeting with a greater understanding of each other.
Many of the suggestions cited are from:
How To Tell Your Boss You Have Too Much Work | Indeed.com [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jan 15]. Available from: https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/how-to-tell-your-boss-you-have-too-much-work