A common advice when receiving conflicting requests that compete for the same time and resources is to escalate the requests to the manager.

But what if the manager explicitly asks you not to do so and instead act as a "gatekeeper" between the team and the rest of the company? Essentially, your manager asks you to say "no" to all those types of requets.

How to do so and still appear friendly?


2 Answers 2


Without knowing your manager's reason, I'm guessing that maybe too many requests are being escalated without good cause. Since your main concern is appearing friendly then you will have to follow your manager's instructions with total transparency.

Instead of just saying no, explain to your co-workers that requests cannot be automatically escalated anymore. Then review the request and ask how you can help solve the problem so escalating isn't necessary.

You will know which ones have to be escalated but remember if you get the first one over with, the rest will be easy. Telling your manager you had no choice but escalate the request might make him irritated. If he seems mad or says something rude, appear oblivious to everything he says or does because once he realizes you are right, he won't feel so stupid if he thinks you weren't paying attention.

TIP: The best way to combat someone's mad irritation or yelling is with a big smile. Just keep smiling and watch anger melt into frustrated confusion.


Then you'll have to act as THE gatekeeper. Parse, select and reject away and explain that if they deem your decision to be mistaken, they can appeal to your manager. With your expectation that your manager will back you in 90% of the cases and override you in the remaining 10%, of course.

No matter how friendly the tone you keep, someone's ox is going to be gored by your decision and you'll be in someone's doghouse. Don't take it personally, no matter how upset they are with you, they'll have to do business with you again - You know it and unless they are clueless, they know it.

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