I manage a team of four directs. I was promoted from within the team 9 months ago, and until recently, I shared in some of their tasks, in addition to my management duties. I've gotten my team fully trained now (we'd had some turnover), and the four of them can handle the workload. 
I want to ask my boss for more responsibility. She's mentioned before that she wants to assign more directs to my team, but other issues got in the way, so that's been delayed.

Do you have any recommendations on how to phrase my request? I'm concerned that my boss might think I'm not proactive enough, if I tell her I have a lot of free time. I also don't want to be seen as an unnecessary cost, since the department's main workload is being handled by my team. My time is currently spent tracking the team's metrics, addressing any roadblocks they come up against, within the company and without, and communicating with other departments concerning major system changes. I am also tasked with creating and presenting training sessions for the larger team on a quarterly basis. This doesn't take me 40 hours a week to accomplish.

Thank you for your advice.

svibanez's picture

My recommendations is to first make sure you've got all the bases covered to the best of your knowledge.  Then give her a good rundown on what you've got going on, and ask for some coaching on where to take the job from here.  As a new manager, you're certainly not expected to know everything in the first 9 months, and you don't know what you don't know.

This is a great opportunity to show her you've got a handle on the stuff that you currently see as "your job" and a great opportunity for her to engage in some professional development for you.  You will both win, as your days will be filled with (hopefully) challenging new tasks that will help you grow, and your boss's personal workload might be reduced by delegating some tasks to you.  At a minimum, she should be able to help you look at your job in a different way so you can identify opportunities on your own.


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ChrisBakerPM's picture

  1.  Make sure that you really do have all the important stuff squared away
  2. Go to your boss with the good news - we've got things running fairly smoothly, and unless there's a plan to being in more directs soon, that you could personally handle something more in the workload. Present it as an opportunity, not a problem
  3. If possible have a suggested task for yourself which would be win-win for you, your boss and your organization  - otherwise, you run the risk of being set additional work which is just something the boss can think of quickly to keep you busy! (You know her, so can better tell what kind of risk this is!)
allenlthompson's picture

Thank you, Steve, and Chris; great advice! Yes, the word "bored" should probably be avoided, and suggesting a task is better than risking being given the first thing she thinks of. You're right, this is a win-win situation, and I will do my best to take advantage of it. 

flexiblefine's picture

This is also an opportunity to think about what's important to your boss -- what are her key objectives, and how can you help her reach them?

The best way to help you boss might be to take on something you think is really cool, or maybe the best way is to take on something that's not so cool. As a high S, my approach would be "How can I help?" rather than "Can I take on Project X?" Let her decide how your help can be most valuable to her.

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nze5364's picture
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It is important that you are certain that it's all plain sailing on the business as usual front. I remember telling a manager I was bored very early on in my career and whilst the outcome wasn't bad it was a risky strategy. I also agree that as flexiblefine says asking her how you can help would be the right way to go but you should have some ideas you are able to share. There is a risk that if you ask them at the wrong time, you'll end up some kind of fool's errand to fill your time because they want to help but can't think of anything worthwhile. Having something you can recommend linked to the departmental objectives shows that you're thinking about the bigger picture and beyond your current role.

Good luck,