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Underestimating managerial time

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Question: Our manager consistently underestimates the length of time it will take to complete work. This affects my colleagues and me on a number of levels: 1. The manager is regularly late for meetings, and meetings with the manager generally go much longer. 2. The manager rarely answers questions or completes her own work on time. 3. The manager promises too much to clients and insists that the rest of us in the office stop what we are doing so we can try and meet unrealistic deadlines at the last minute. 4. The manager routinely questions others’ time estimates for both minor tasks and major projects. This has, on occasion, resulted in disputes. Is there any way for an office or an individual to assist someone to become more realistic? One thing I have done in regard to # 4 is outline all the projects, tasks and meetings I have on the docket when I am setting a deadline, so the manager knows what is happening, and we agree on the deadline. This has been somewhat successful, but I find it frustrating. It is also embarrassing, especially in meetings. I also find it difficult to quickly list all my priorities. Thank you for any suggestions you can give me!  -- Discouraged in Vancouver, B.C.


Sounds like you need a new manager. Or at least they need some serious time management classes. That aside, what you are doing is probably the best thing you can do. Keep yourself extremely organized so you know what you have on your plate and give yourself enough time to accomplish it so that the manager knows what time may or may not belong to them is good. I don't know if this would work or not and the concept might be totally off the wall, but have you thought about an intervention? Do you get the opportunity to evaluate your manager? If so, that would be a good time to bring up the time management issue. But really, time management is always something people should/can work on to improve.

This sounds like my boss!

This has been a serious issue in the past, I had a meeting with my boss and explained that poor planning makes for the 7P's. I think the most constructive item was that if our presentations lack time to proof, and have several sets of eyes read and read again, that the company would look unprepared and unprofessional. The next question was why would anyone want to hire our company if we came to the meeting with an unprepared presentation.

My boss took this to heart and has never given me another presentation without the time to do the job properly.

I hope this is helpful!

When feeling 'overwhelmed' because there is too much to handle and never enough time- is I go through exactly what I need to get done and make detailed lists. Then I arrange a meeting with my boss and go over what is necessary to do ASAP and what can wait. This way they know what you are dealing with and because you have presented the issue at a meeting your boss can't ignore you. As for meetings, as a manager myself, I knew that our meetings were going way too long so at one meeting I put it on the agenda 'basic meeting guidelines' and basically explained that the meetings were for topics on the agenda, only managers were presenting and unrelated questions can wait until the next business day. I also put a time limit next to each topic on the agenda so we could all try to stay 'on-time' with the agenda. They both have seemed to help.

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