My boss seems to suffer from wilful forgetfulness. I manage a small team who have been recently given an increased workload. My boss told me that he would add a new member to our team to allow us to handle the new work. I had made him aware that were already spread very thin, so a new team member seemed like a balanced resolution.

Now several weeks have passed, there has been no team member added, and my boss is now complaining to me on a regular basis about the overall workload not being completed. I have pointed out the issue, and he has reassured me he will supply us with another worker, then a few days later he will start complaining again. I am concerned that in his mind I'm becoming increasingly incompetent, despite my team honestly running better than it ever has.

Should I approach him to address this face to face? I have already written a report on the subject but it only makes a difference for a few days before he complains again. Or should I just suck it up and get on with what I can achieve? I'm concerned that my team are feeling the strain.

This is the same boss who knows that person A took a particular phonecall but will expect person B, C and D to know all about it even though they are unconnected to person A's project as if we work under a hive mind. So I'm not convinced he'll change his ways anytime soon!

  • 3
    It typically takes months to get a new (competent) employee, and this is normally handled by HR/Recruiting, so why do you assume your boss forgot about the new employee?
    – Thern
    Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 14:09
  • 1
    Do you mean hire a new employee or a "borrowing" of another team's employee? If you mean hiring a new employee, that's going to take a lot longer than a couple of weeks depending on your area.
    – Dan
    Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 15:26

1 Answer 1


It could be that things are in progress, but you're just not aware of it. Would you normally be involved in the hiring process? Reviewing CVs (resumes) or interviewing? If not then the first you might hear of it is when the new person is introduced on their first day of work.

However, if there has really been no progress on this it sounds like your boss is being deliberately "forgetful" under the hope that if they postpone getting a new member long enough you'll either learn to cope or the workload will have decreased sufficiently so that you no longer need the extra staff.

The fact that one (or more) of your team may leave due to stress etc. may or may not have entered into their calculations.

Just keep reminding them that you need the extra staff.

If that fails the only recourse you have is to include their boss in your next report highlighting the impact the lack of staff his having on your team's ability to do it's job. This may not work as your boss might become aggrieved that you've "gone over their head" with this issue, so think carefully before you take it.

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