Dealing With Unreasonable Requests

Asserting Yourself Effectively

Woman with work files.

Learn to recognize and deal with unreasonable requests.

© iStockphoto/alvarez

It's Sheila's last day before a long-awaited break, and she's been working hard to complete her work before she leaves.

However, in the middle of the afternoon, her boss comes in with news: Sheila's company has just been contacted by a possible new client, and, as she's the team's best sales rep, her boss wants her to meet with the client tomorrow.

When Sheila reminds him about her planned time off, her boss asks that she reschedule. He says that the client is too important for less experienced reps to handle, and, since Sheila's not actually going away on vacation, he thinks that there's no reason why she can't attend the meeting.

Many of us are approached with requests that seem unreasonable. If you want to stay productive and happy in your role, it's essential to know how to deal with these demands.

Defining "Unreasonable"

"Unreasonable" means "beyond the bounds of reason and fairness." This is clearly quite subjective, and what may seem reasonable to one person may seem quite unreasonable to another. So, what could an "unreasonable request" actually encompass? Let's consider the following situations:

... for the complete article:

Mind Tools Club members, click here.

Join the Mind Tools Club to finish this article AND get 1,000 more resources

Join now for just $1, first month

"When I started using Mind Tools, I was not in a supervisory position. Now I am. Along with that came a 12% increase in salary." – Pat Degan, Houston, USA
Add this article to My Learning Plan

Where to go from here:

Join the Mind Tools Club

Click to join Mind Tools
Printer-friendly version
Return to the top of the page

Create a Login to Save Your Learning Plan

This ensures that you don’t lose your plan.


Connect with…

Or create a Mind Tools login. Existing user? Log in here.
Log in with your existing Mind Tools details
Lost Username or Password
You are now logged in…

Lost username or password?

Please enter your username or email address and we'll send you a reminder.

Thank You!

Your log in details have been sent to the email account you registered with. Please check your email to reset your login details.

Create a Mind Tools Login
Your plan has been created.

While you're here, subscribe to our FREE newsletter?

Learn a new career skill every week, and get our Personal Development Plan workbook (worth $19.99) when you subscribe.


Thank You!

Please check your Inbox, and click on the link in the email from us. We can then send you the newsletter.