You’ve been in your job for awhile and you have a pretty good understanding of how things work and when the office is the busiest. Your new boss has only been there a few weeks and seems to be fairly low key. While you admire her approach, you are concerned about several looming deadlines for projects.
For instance, the renewal for your agency’s primary grant funding is due next month. You know how important that is and how much time and energy it takes to complete it on time. You have mentioned your concern to your boss, and she says it is on her list.
Or, the annual audit needs to be completed several weeks before the winter meeting of the Board of Directors. You learn today that your boss has approved vacation leave for two employees during the critical time crunch. Your colleagues are delighted that they will be able to miss some of the audit craziness. You are simply puzzled by her lack of understanding.
What’s happening here? Are you being overly responsible? Are you trying to impress her? Are you simply the office worrier? Are you the one who always picks up the slack and others know that? Or are you simply having difficulty adjusting to the work style of a new boss? What should you do?
Nagging your new boss about a looming deadline or questioning her decisions won’t work. Complaining about her, or trying to go over her head can be the kiss of death for your future working relationship. Instead you might try some of the following suggestions.
Draft a timeline of how and when the team usually completes tasks for the grant renewal. If it generally requires two weeks for sign-off by those in top administration, note that on the timeline. When you give it to your boss, do so without attitude or sounding judgmental. Simply say you thought it might be helpful for her as she develops the timeline for this year. She may disregard your suggestions, but she won’t be able to say she wasn’t warned.
Next complete all the background work you can for the parts of the grant that fall within your scope of responsibility. Your boss may start the process later than you would like, but you can still be ready with your material whenever it is required.
Keep in mind that it’s your boss who will be on the carpet if the audit is not ready in time for the board meeting. Also, unless your boss is the CEO, she, too, has a boss who should be helping her work through her responsibilities
Be helpful and supportive, but step back. Her low key style may cut down on some of the craziness that surrounds big projects, or she may refine the process in a positive way. Or she may find herself in hot water and throw the office into chaos. Either way, it’s her call, and ultimately her responsibility.