Let’s face it. Women are often busy doing the grunt work while men spend more time building their careers. We have a problem with taking on too much responsibility and it limits us from doing what needs to be done to advance our own careers and take care of ourselves.

No only do we do our own work, but we also take on the work of others. We have difficulty saying “no”. As a result, we are often overwhelmed and stressed.

When a direct report comes to you with a project and they tell you they don’t have time or they don’t know how to do it. What do you do? Do you take it on because it will get done faster if you do it? Do you allow your direct reports to delegate up?

Instead of automatically assuming responsibility for something new, perhaps it’s best to pause a few minutes and think through what other possible options exist.

Perhaps your direct report can work with a co-worker on this project?

Maybe you can use this as a teaching opportunity. If you invest the time now, you won’t have to address the same issue in the future.

What do you do when a peer tries to delegate to you inappropriately?

The important message here is to stop and think about potential ways to manage the issue and also to learn how to say “no” when appropriate. Stop yourself before you launch into solving the problem for someone else. Just apologize and say “no”. “I’d love to help you out with this, but I have way too much on my plate right now.”

Sound good? Try it next time someone tries to delegate a project inappropriately to you and you will eventually feel less stressed, more in control of your own work and career.