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  • Janeen Shaffer, PCC

Communication framework to use in discussing additional responsibilities

Perhaps more frequently than before, there are discussions about role changes and priority shifts that are impacting your bandwidth of accountability. Here is a sample communication framework to use when negotiating and recommending shifts to your responsibilities.

Communication Framework

1) State your reason for the conversation:

Example: I would like to discuss with you the request you made in having me lead the national women’s group on behalf of our hospital.

2) Provide appropriate gratitude about leader/topic/situation and provide context around the topic to demonstrate you understand the priorities:

Example: I am appreciative of the request. I know we’ve talked in the past about me leading more national efforts to improve my leadership skills on a broader scale and grow my expertise in certain medical and leadership topics. Also, I understand this national group is well respected by our administration and our presence in the group is highly valued. I understand that my role would be to lead the effort around gathering national best practices and making recommendations on wellbeing for medical staff in research hospitals. Our goal is this national work will be applied to our own institution and contribute to one of our key priorities for the hospital this year.

3) Propose what you want to do with demonstrating consideration for the other’s priorities:

Example: I very much want to accept this role and understand it would be an additional focus outside of my daily responsibilities. I believe this additional role will involve an extra 10 hours a week outside of my existing responsibilities for the department. My goal is to represent our hospital well and help this national group work collaboratively to pull the best information together for the wellbeing recommendations. Given the scope and impact of this effort, I’d like to propose that we consider looking at my other “extra” responsibilities that are beyond my daily role, specifically being the leader for the four fellows. I believe there is an opportunity here to consider involving another team member to assume the responsibility who is looking for additional leadership experience. I know Rashida has spoken to me several times about how to gain more leadership experience, for example.

4) Request feedback:

Example: I look forward to hearing your thoughts and coming to a solution together.

5) Get agreement on timeline, expectations, and outcomes:

Example: I appreciate the discussion and the two-week timeline that we agreed on to finding a solution. I will talk to Rashida this week and send an email confirming our information.

Some questions to ask yourself before the conversation.

- What is important to you?

- How does this possible agreement impact you? How does it impact the other individual?

- What if you could hear the other side, what might they share?

- What is another possible solution? What are you willing to negotiate?

- What would it mean for the person to say “no”? What would it mean for the person to say “yes”?

These conversations may not always be able to happen during crises situations or critical deadlines. However, when it’s a typical conversation that ends up adding to your pile of responsibilities, it is important to begin setting expectations that you will respectfully and openly have discussions around your priorities. Your leader is juggling five million items and may forget what they are piling on you. These conversations can level-set focus and priorities for both of you. You won’t always “win” in these conversations but not having them ensures that you will always “lose” the opportunity to discuss what is important. Also, these conversations allow you to demonstrate how you can handle negotiations as a leader and that you won’t automatically say “yes” to everything because it is important to have clarity on what priorities are best for you, the team, the leader and the business. Good luck!

Janeen Shaffer is a PCC certified coach helping individuals and leaders with their internal development and external performance. If the article resonated with you, follow me on LinkedIn and check my other articles. Contact me at,, IG @janeen.shaffer, Pinterest Shaffer Coaching + Consulting.


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