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My role involves working with teams across the company, but there is a strong tendency for people to come and chat us up informally in order to get their things done, put pressure and even "blackmail" my team to help their team.
This is because the formal process is already overwhelmed with a huge backlog and the team needs to churn through that process before anything.
Yet, people seem to think that regardless of what we are doing right now, their task is more important.
To us that adds a lot of distraction and, frankly, even makes us feel insecure because they tell us lots of stories about our performance...
I am the assistant manager of the team and I have the task of being the "external face"/PR of the team, whereas our boss is doing the deep nitty gritty work. I was told that it is part of my role to shoo people away, but I am concerned that I might be coming across in a negative, defensive, "no-we-can't" attitude. I have never worked in customer service so I am not good at telling people "no".
I am usually very friendly and that may be why people approach me more / why I was promoted to this role, but when people keep coming and coming... I honestly am overwhelmed, especially when they try to encroach on me through informal paths.
So how can I get rid of these requests without coming across negatively?
EDIT: I need to emphasize that it is my role to manage and filter the day-to-day requests, not my boss's (he can escalate but he generally wants me to do that).