Too Much To Do – Too Little Time
Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.
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My boss overcommits. She is very smart and extremely high-energy. We are in a sales-support function for a fairly large firm. The sales team tells us they need something and next thing we know, she is saying we’ll do it. Our team is comprised of just three people and one is part-time. We have Excel spreadsheets all over the place outlining our commitments, when they are due and to whom. No matter how many times we get them finalized, she adds something that creates an uproar and we have to redo the whole plan.
We get the fact that we are a cost center and need to justify our existence – this is the line she gives us every time we push back on her. But at a certain point there is simply too much to do and too little time. I love my job but when the weeks get extended from a normal of 55 hours to 75 and 80 hours and I’m not seeing my friends and family I wonder why I am doing this. Is there a way to help her see the impact on us of her constantly “yes, yes, yes!”?
The mantra of too much to do with not enough time to do it is a constant refrain among the firms I work with. Many larger firms have cut staff but have increased workload. I understand your frustration in trying to manage this and come up with a working plan!
You are describing a clear disconnect in behavioral style, which I see in many situations where groups are the “get it done” people. Your boss likely has a people-oriented style where she is upbeat, positive, and gregarious and she gets into situations with the sales team (who are often also wired this same way) and they probably generate great ideas and then she brings them back to expect the same enthusiasm from her group. You folks are likely more the “get it done” and have an organized process for doing so type of people. You need a plan, time to process new priorities and a clear schedule to accomplish everything you are assigned.