When your boss offers you a new project — whether it’s managing another department or taking on a new client overseas — a natural impulse is to say, “Yes! Of course!” and scurry back to your desk to get started.
The idea being, of course, that the best way to please your boss is to do whatever they ask of you, and do it with a smile — even if the minute you get back to your desk you have a freak-out because you’re not sure where to begin.
As it turns out, this do-it-and-smile strategy can backfire — not only leaving you frazzled but also leaving your boss disappointed because you won’t have the appropriate resources to devote to the new project.
According to Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, an etiquette and civility expert and the author of “Don’t Burp in the Boardroom,” your No. 1 concern here should be not letting your boss down. And sometimes, that means not accepting the offer immediately or exactly the way your boss presented it — even if it does sound like an exciting opportunity.
In general, it’s a good idea to show enthusiasm but to also tell your boss: “Yes, I’m interested. May I let you know this afternoon?” (Or the following day, if you’d like more time to mull it over.)
Between now and then, figure out what you need to know to make a decision.
“It’s your responsibility to ask questions,” Randall said.
In general, you’ll want to find out exactly what the project entails and consider whether you have the skills and knowledge to complete it successfully. If you’ve been offered a long-term opportunity, you might ask about required travel or longer work hours.
If there’s time, talk it over with your family or with a trusted colleague (make sure to first ask your boss if this is a confidential offer). They can help point out potential downsides that you, in your eagerness to accept the offer, might miss.
Finally, go back to your boss and clarify any concerns. You’ll show that you’re responsible and detail-oriented — plus you can figure out with your boss whether there’s some other version of the assignment that addresses these issues.
They might even offer their help whenever you run into a roadblock, which you should accept.
“Some of the requirements might not be in black and white; they might be in grey,” Randall said. “There might be wiggle room. But how will you know if you don’t go back [to your boss?]”
Randall added, “Gather all of the information that you can and then you can make a decision.”
NOW WATCH: Never say these 6 things to your boss
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.