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How do you tactfully inform supervisors to re-assume responsibilities?

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Question: “When I first started my position as operations administrative assistant, department staff and supervisors completed their own procurement statements and gas receipt reconciliations. Because my schedule and workload permitted me to help other departments, I volunteered to reconcile the statements and receipts for 12 operation departments. With growing responsibilities to the director of operations (my direct boss), it’s difficult for me to continue helping with these two responsibilities. I would like to return reconciliation responsibility back to the department staff and supervisors. How do I tactfully and respectfully return this responsibility to them?” — Rita Yanz


You simply put it as you did hear. Your priority is with your direct boss. You are sorry that you can no longer provide this to the staff, but your time is now directed elsewhere. Simple. They should understand.

I put together a packet of information for them and explained the proceedures I use and a list of accounting charges they need to code the expenses. We had a meeting to hand out the packets and answer any questions. They have been doing it themselves ever since.

Is your direct boss also over these supervisors, or on the same level as these supervisors? If your boss is over them, I would suggest talking to your boss about this situation and ask that he/she do a memo letting them know that they will have to go back to doing it themselves due to the reasons you stated. If he/she is on the same level as them, maybe he/she could bring it up in the next meeting and find an agreeable solution. They may not mind taking it back and hopefully appreciated the times you were able to handle it for them.

Simple memo to each indiv involved: "As you know I helped out with ABC functions prior to my start date as operations administrative assistant. At this time, Sue, Bob and Bill, you will need to get together and determine who/how this will be done effective immediately. I will be glad to give some reminders of the process if needed. Thanks for your consideration." If you want to make it more casual, do so, but put it in writing and keep copies, cc to the dept supervisor. You could add that you miss your previous involvement, depending upon the tone you wish to set.

Our agency did the same thing. We put together an expense packet for individuals to fill out along with procedures and an example on how to fill out the expense statement. A short meeting was held, with my boss'es approval and the staff have been doing it themselves ever since.

I had this situation once. I just sent them an email, told them I had met with my executive and we had reassessed my workload. The result was that we agreed I needed to relinquish some tasks in order to free up more time to be of greater assistance to him and the other member of the executive team. The things you were doing for these others was a bonus for them and not an expectation for you.

I agree with M Clark, couldn't have said it any differently. If that is not the case for yourself the way you posed the questions sounded just fine and I would just let them know.

I agree with all of the above. I would definitely send out an email to all concerned letting them know what a pleasure it was working with them and "Helping" them out during your slow time, but, your responsibilities have now increased and all the extra time you spent on their XYZ will now be focused on your primary job duties and immediate manager. Make it as nice and pleasant as you can but firm. Also, make sure you get a read receipt.

First, develop a solution which should include a packet of information with streamlined procedures on how expense reporting needs to be completed.

Second, have your boss validate this new procedure with an email to the staff with the meeting date/time. If it comes from the boss, it is likely to be taken more seriously. Unfortunate, but true!

Third, hold a meeting with a powerpoint presentation showing them how it's done and give them the packet of info to go for future reference.

Good luck!

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