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When someone on your team pesters you to get something low priority completed, how do you react?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from more than 200,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

When someone on your team pesters you to get something low priority completed, how do you react?

  • I firmly tell them, "No, I'll do it when it's time. Please don't mention it again." 34%
  • I ignore their pestering and get to it when I get to it. 22%
  •  placate them and keep saying "I'll get to it soon." 32%
  • I give in and just do it. Anything to get them to stop pestering me. 11%

Maintaining focus and priorities. It looks like most of you try to get the distraction to stop – either by being direct, ignoring the distraction, or placating with a “not now” response. Recognize that if they’re pestering you, they likely won’t stop until they get a firm answer either way. Whether that’s you giving in and just doing it or firmly telling them “no” they’ll need a definitive result and will keep bringing it up until they have resolution. Try giving them definitive answers. If the answer is “no” or “not now” then just say so. Ignoring them or placating them doesn’t stop the distractions and those distractions impact your productivity significantly. Step up and assert your priorities. It will alleviate anxiety for them and will reduce interruptions for you.

 

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS, which includes TITAN -- the firm’s e-learning platform. Previously, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a West Point graduate and author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."