Our new manager started four days ago. He is clearly still finding his feet, asking for our job descriptions and analysing our annual leave.

Yesterday at his first department meeting, which his boss (the owner of the business) and various other high up managers attended, he stated uncategorically that my team are overstaffed.

This really bothered me as I have been fighting for months to show that our team is actually understaffed. So his statement came across as outrageous to me. I did not challenge him at the meeting. I was concerned that he was trying to impress the boss, and the meeting was already in a semi-heated debate about a related topic. I did say that I disagreed. The new manager has said that he will do an audit over the next month to confirm the state of affairs as he sees it. I welcome this as I believe he's in for a shock.

How should I deal with this? Should I let the audit take its course and do nothing in between? Should I speak to the boss (my manager's manager) as he has told me to come to him directly in the past if I'm having staffing issues (he is the only one who authorises a new hire, but has been reluctant to do so because he is investing a lot of money elsewhere). Should I speak to my new manager to enlighten him about all the things he's missing, or will that be damaging to our new working relationship?

(I am responsible for scheduling the staff in my team and I'm already losing a lot of time that could be spend productively trying to figure out how to keep things going each day. I am concerned that regardless of the audit's findings my new manager has set out his stall and is going to stick to it. After all, he made the overstaffed comment on no evidence, and did not come to me before the meeting for audits I've previously done in past. I can see things only getting harder when they're already hard enough, so I feel that I should do something decisive, or start looking for a job elsewhere.)

Edit: I find that the other team members don't care as much as I do because they don't have to be concerned with the overall production, just their own work. I've had them agree with me plenty of times before, but I could also see them covering their own backs to agree with a strong personality. Its only when they're personally inconviencied by our being short staffed that they would actively complain about it. To be fair, if the scheduling wasn't part of my job I wouldn't worry myself over it either!

  • With regards to people saying one thing when the perceived truth is something else, does the rest of your team believe they are understaffed, and would they voice it as you have done?
    – user34587
    Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 15:37
  • 1
    does your team not know the meaning/implications of being overstaffed?
    – bharal
    Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 16:21
  • Life is too short for working for incompetent bosses. Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 18:04
  • 1
    "he stated uncategorically that my team are overstaffed" Most likely, he has been hired to have exactly this opinion.
    – pmf
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 9:44

3 Answers 3


I wouldn't go over his head yet as he's just the new guy and he'll feel you're going behind his back before he even has a chance to get to know the team and it's challenges.

Go through all of your concerns, the workload, the staffing issues and any inefficiencies there are (there have to be some, there always are). If at the end he still disagrees then maybe, just maybe, he could be right and that a reorganization of the team could fix some of the issues.

I'm not sure he should have made his proclamation so early yet, but then again he could be trying to portray himself to the senior managers as a guy who can get stuff done, who shares their image of the company and where it needs to go. That would give him added credibility when he finally has to go to then and say "yeah, team is way under-resourced, need more people".


You need to nip this in the bud, and go to the owner if necessary to refute this or he WILL move to start cutting staff.

I went through this at a previous employer and I was one that was cut. It sounds like this new person is going to want bragging rights about how much money he saved the company.

At that previous employer I mentioned? The guy cut so deep that the systems degraded entirely.


You need to have every line dotted and every t crossed. Prepare something to bring to the owner demonstrating not only that you are understaffed, but where and why.

This is not just bravado, this is an axe man who is out for blood. Cover yourself and your team sooner, rather than later.


Set up a meeting with the new manager, and give him all your data from the previous audits you've done. Be proactive - don't wait for a cost-cutting edict to come down on you, get ahead of the decisions and make sure that any final report is written in the best interest of the company - not in the interests of you, your department, or your boss.

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