What To Do When You Miss a Deadline (With Tips)

How to tell a supervisor you missed a deadline
  1. Address the situation as soon as possible. While the deadline may have already passed, addressing the situation as soon as possible is still important. …
  2. Provide a brief explanation. …
  3. Apologize for the delay. …
  4. Propose a new timeframe. …
  5. Show your appreciation.

Missing a deadline never feels good, whether you planned ahead and fell short of your goal or put off doing something until it was too late. If you don’t handle it well, it can also harm your career and reputation. What to do if you miss a deadline at work is as follows:

Giving your boss and/or coworkers advance notice before the deadline is your best bet According to Cheryl Palmer, founder of Call to Career, “It’s much better to get ahead of the situation and let your boss know that you are unable to make the deadline due to factors outside of your control than to wait until after the deadline has passed to address the issue.”

As soon as you realize you won’t be able to meet your goal, share this information with your team, advises Ronald Kaufman, author of “Anatomy of Success,” “What is your new, real estimated time of delivery?” Be prepared to explain why the deadline was or will be missed as succinctly and objectively as possible. If you were at fault, admit it firmly, accept responsibility, and share what you learned. According to Kaufman, the situation will determine whether or not to assign blame if it was someone else’s fault. If you selected the vendor or subordinate, then you are still accountable.

It’s highly unlikely that someone will overlook the fact that you missed a crucial deadline they were waiting on. When we’re about to miss a deadline, sometimes we think it’s better to keep our heads down and not alert others, but it’s actually better to do so. Being truthful and forthcoming up front rather than waiting to lower the boom after the fact increases your chances of maintaining your credibility, according to Colette Ellis, founder of InStep Consulting.

Next time, in addition to better planning, try your hardest to meet your deadline. Gary Malin, President of the Citi Habitats real estate brokerage in New York City, says “Your track record matters.” “Most managers will be understanding if you have demonstrated that you are a trustworthy and reliable worker who typically meets deadlines. Everyone makes mistakes, but by keeping missed deadlines to a minimum, people will know they can rely on you to complete your work and assist them in completing theirs.

Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including AOLHealth, Glamour, Self, and Redbook. com, Babble. com and Details. com) and publications (such as The Boston Globe and The New York Post) To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein. com. Thanks for reading CBS NEWS. Create your free account or log in for more features. To view CBS News in, enter a valid email address. Please enter your email address to continue.

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How to tell a supervisor you missed a deadline

It’s crucial to inform your supervisor if you recently missed a deadline. You can probably come up with a solution to assist both of you in moving forward by handling this situation professionally. You can follow these steps to inform your supervisor that you missed a deadline:

1. Address the situation as soon as possible

Even though the deadline may have already passed, it is still crucial to address the situation as soon as possible. As a result, your manager will have the time to make the necessary modifications to keep the rest of your department or your project on schedule. If possible, notify your supervisor in person. But if calling them on the phone is the quickest way to get in touch with them, that might be your best option. Leave a brief voicemail and send a follow-up email if you can’t reach your supervisor on the phone to demonstrate that you’re trying your best to inform them.

2. Provide a brief explanation

Give a succinct justification for not being able to meet the deadline. Even though you don’t have to disclose personal information, letting your supervisor know if there was an emergency you had to attend to or another reason for the delay can help them better understand the circumstances. Instead of making excuses, be truthful and acknowledge any actions you could have taken to avert the circumstance. You can demonstrate to your manager that you know what steps to take to ensure that you complete upcoming tasks on time by explaining to them why you were unable to meet the deadline.

For instance, if you missed a deadline because you needed a crucial piece of information from another team member, you might admit that you should have checked in with them earlier in the week to make sure they were prepared to deliver their part of the project on schedule and that they were on track.

3. Apologize for the delay

Even though it seems like a small gesture, expressing regret for the delay can influence how your boss responds to the news. Consider how missing this deadline might affect their employment, your team’s productivity, or the organization.

For instance, if your supervisor was waiting on you to submit a data analysis report so they could complete a slide show presentation to present to the rest of your team, let them know you are aware of how crucial the project is and that you apologize for the delay. Your apology may seem more sincere if you demonstrate that you are aware of the consequences of your actions.

4. Propose a new timeframe

To ensure you can finish the project you need to finish, think about the other priorities on your list and whether you can rearrange some of them. Next, suggest a new deadline that accommodates both you and your supervisor. To help you regain trust at this time, make sure you agree on a deadline that you can meet.

If you are currently overburdened with work, you might suggest delegating another task to a different team member or postponing a less crucial project so you can concentrate. This can demonstrate to your manager that you are committed to resolving the issue.

5. Show your appreciation

Finally, be sure to express gratitude to your boss for taking the time to comprehend your situation and collaborate with you to find a solution. Inform your supervisor that you appreciate the extra time and that you can meet the new deadline. While keeping your letter brief, try to be specific about the things you want to thank your supervisor for and why they mean a lot to you. Ending your conversation on a favorable note can be achieved by taking the time to express your gratitude.

Benefits of addressing a missed deadline

If you’re proactive, addressing a missed deadline can help you come across as more professional. Making the first move to approach your boss or client and explain the circumstance can also demonstrate your respect for them and concern for putting things right. You can also gain from dealing with a missed deadline by doing the following things:

Tips for handling a missed deadline

Here are some additional suggestions to assist you in dealing with missing a deadline and avoiding it in the future:

Be proactive

Inform your supervisor in advance if you notice that a project is taking you longer to complete than anticipated. Prior to the deadline, you can lessen stress and give other team members time to reorganize their schedules or priorities.

You can still be proactive if you miss a deadline due to unavoidable circumstances by getting in touch with your supervisor before they become aware of the delay. This might entail sending an email after work hours, particularly in an emergency Being proactive can demonstrate to your manager and team members that you are dedicated to your work.

Take responsibility for your actions

Take responsibility for the missed deadline rather than blaming a coworker, your current workload, or a malfunctioning computer program. Even though there may have been other mitigating circumstances, it’s crucial to demonstrate to your supervisor that you are aware of any potential ways to lessen these difficulties.

For instance, you could explain that you realize you need to prioritize your work more skillfully moving forward if you missed a deadline because you took on too many obligations. By doing so, you can demonstrate to your manager that you are dependable and capable of enhancing your workflow in the future.

Provide frequent updates

Provide frequent updates as you approach your new deadline to let your manager know you’re on track. This can help reduce some of their stress and ensure that you finish the project by the upcoming due date.

When you are halfway through a large report, for instance, you might inform your supervisor and ask them if they would like you to send them the information you have completed so far. They may find this information useful and be able to carry on working while you finish the rest of your report if they require it to finish another task. Rebuilding trust with your manager can also be facilitated by better communication.

Take steps to prevent missing future deadlines

Determine the steps you can take to avoid missing deadlines in the future. This might entail planning ahead during slow times, choosing your projects more carefully, or keeping a more well-organized to-do list. Another fantastic choice is to set a flexible deadline for future projects.

For instance, you might set a goal to finish a rough draft of a report by March 7 if your report is due on March 14. In order to ensure that you meet your deadline, this can help you divide large projects into smaller, more manageable pieces. Once you’ve determined a few actions you can take to enhance your performance, communicate them to your manager. This can demonstrate to them your commitment to taking concrete steps to avoid missing upcoming deadlines.


Can you get fired for missing a deadline?

When you anticipate missing a deadline, notify the recipient as soon as you can. Include an apology for the oversight, a brief explanation of what went wrong, and a new deadline for completion of the work.

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