Overwhelmed by Doing More With Less? Ask Madeleine

businesswoman is stressed and asks for help with a gesture of ar Dear Madeleine,

I run the Americas finance for a large global company. I am very good at my job and people give great feedback about working for me. Their only real complaint – and mine – is that the workload is crushing. We all work absurd hours and when we need to prepare for big board meetings, it’s all-nighters and weekends.

I have lost two managers in the last six months—which, of course, adds greatly to the problem—and haven’t even had time to hire replacements.

I recently went to my boss to talk about hiring requirements and he said, in essence, “We’re doing so well without those folks, why replace them?” I nearly blew my top – but of course that isn’t going to help me. What will?  –Overwhelmed


Dear Overwhelmed,

I assume your boss is the CFO or some other kind of numbers guy. Tales of woe about how hard you and your people are working are not going to be effective. Speak to a numbers person with numbers—it’s the only language that will be heard. Create a spreadsheet showing how much time all of the tasks need and what it takes for your skeleton crew to deliver. You need to show, in concrete terms, the toll this situation is taking and how hiring one or two folks will add value in the long term. One theme you might bring up is the consequences the department will face if a team member is out with the flu, what effect the holidays will have on work getting done, etc. Take the emotion out of it. Tell the story with facts and numbers, and you are much more likely to get what you need.

Love, Madeleine

About the author

Madeleine Blanchard

Madeleine Homan-Blanchard is a master certified coach, author, speaker, and cofounder of Blanchard Coaching Services. Madeleine’s Advice for the Well Intentioned Manager is a regular Saturday feature for a very select group: well intentioned managers. Leadership is hard—and the more you care, the harder it gets. Join us here each week for insight, resources, and conversation.

Got a question for Madeleine? Email Madeleine and look for your response here next week!

One thought on “Overwhelmed by Doing More With Less? Ask Madeleine

  1. Wow! Thank you! I am struggling to figure my way out of this situation, too. I now know what to do. I’m grateful for this great advice…I will try this…wish me luck!

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