I work in a multi-national software house and AI company. I am currently lead programmer on 2 of our main software and lead analyst on 3 of our clients. The problem is since I am the youngest guy in office [23 (I have been working here for 4 years now)], I cannot manage workload.

  • My backup resources and team members never do any work and I have to finish their work too.
  • Whenever I assign them a task, they always say "we have loads of other work. Please do it" and I cannot say No to them.
  • This is starting to affect my work too and I am getting behind my deadlines. I have told them multiple times, politely, that I have work too but in the end nothing changes.I have to sit more than 14 hours in the office.

What I did try to do;

  • I tried talking to them personally and explaining my situation.

  • I tried talking to my Boss and after a month, he switched their tasks and assignments but now they don't do the newly assigned tasks either.

  • I tried not to do their tasks but in the end, even they didn't do it and it all fell on me and I was held responsible for the delays and errors.

I am running out of ideas. How should I manage the workload and get them to do the tasks.

  • hello, consider editing the question to make it better fit site topics laid out in help center. In particular, this guidance may help to learn what is expected of questions here. Good luck!
    – gnat
    Sep 23, 2015 at 13:44
  • 1
    @gnat I have made the edits. Let me know if you feel the need for more edits/updates. Sep 23, 2015 at 14:13
  • What is your position/role? From the other comments elsewhere it seems like you are a team leader. Maybe you should clarify your role to see how best to move forward.
    – Brandin
    Sep 23, 2015 at 15:16
  • So we have a manager on top. I am the Lead resource/Team Lead on my clients and I have 4-5 people working with me. I am the Primary Resource/ Team lead on both the software and I have 4-5 people there. Sep 23, 2015 at 15:31

2 Answers 2


First stop enabling people. If you are the lead, then you make the assignments. If they don't do the work, then send it back to them with comments about what is wrong and insist they fix it. NEVER FIX ANYONE ELSE"S WORK WHEN THEY REPORT TO YOU.

Learn to say no. You cannot be a lead without having the gumption to say no both up and down the chain. When someone says they can;t take on a task, ask what other tasks they are doing and then make the priority evaluation between what they are working on and the new task. If they don't like it that you change the priorities and move them to a new task, tough. A lead is not there to be liked, he is there to get the job done.

Next what you apparently need is a priority list of deliverables, who they are assigned to and their priority. Then you can show that there is a delay due to higher priorities. This will also help you see who has the time available to work on a new task so they can't play you by pretending to be busy.

If someone is not pulling his weight on the project, then get him removed and get someone who will do his job. As lead you may or may not be the actual supervisor, but if you are not then go to the person's actual manager and show them that the person is not performing well. If you are the actual supervisor, you need to sit each person down individually and talk about priorities and work accomplishments. You need to set clear expectations.

Your age is irrelevant, stop using that as an excuse. You have the authority and responsibility for the project and the others do not. They need to respect that no matter if you were 12 or 85. You may however need to discuss the exact limits of your authority over these people with your boss and get his advice on how to take action. Lead is a very strange position, in some places they have much more authority than in others. You need to know what actions you can take and what you cannot. You need guidance on how to handle performance questions and how work should be assigned and prioritized. Only your specific boss can give that advice as it is company (and sometimes even project) specific.

Stop spending 14 hours working, that is counterproductive and unhealthy. You will get so much more done when you stop doing this.

  • I have asked them if they have too much workload, perhaps they should talk to the boss and get off my projects but then they didn't reply. If I say No, then no one will do the tasks and my boss will ask me. Sep 23, 2015 at 14:16
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    That is too passive. If they don't come up with a priority, then you assign them the task and give them the deadline (in writing, cc your boss). If they don't do it then you have a performance problem that you can deal with and eventually fire them.
    – HLGEM
    Sep 23, 2015 at 14:24
  • That is actually a great idea and I have thought of doing it multiple times but, I am afraid this would ruin the friendly work environment in the office as I have 5-6 such backups and members with 3 distinct bosses. Sep 23, 2015 at 14:31
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    @SimonO'Doherty, this is why he first needs to get with his manager on the limits of his authority to do things to get the project done. Too many companies give responsibility without authority and that is very much harder to manage.
    – HLGEM
    Sep 23, 2015 at 14:49
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    What friendly environment? They basically disregard you, and your work suffers as a consequence, there's nothing friendly about that
    – Kilisi
    Sep 23, 2015 at 21:43

If you're the lead, you need to act like one. If this means upsetting a few people, then that's what you do. I would start slowly by requesting updates etc., and cc'ing the manager and similar tactics. And if work is suffering I would have a chat with the boss myself.

Usually just a nudge would set people's work practices onto the right track. And that can include your boss. It sounds like you're being taken advantage of.

One good method of bringing people into line is implementing a job tracking system and enforcing it's use. Then you have something concrete to look at when you're analysing people's work loads and productivity. With a reward system for good work. This can be as simple as just posting who has done the most billable hours in a week and generates a bit of healthy competition.

In summary, talk to your boss about the difficulties, secondly STOP taking 'No' as a reasonable answer. Thirdly have something concrete you can bring up at meetings either to congratulate or chastise.

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