Being a manager is not an easy job, especially when it comes to managing conflicting priorities. With so many things to juggle and limited time, it can be overwhelming to figure out what to focus on first. But don’t worry, with a few tips and tricks, you can manage conflicting priorities like a pro!
The first step to managing conflicting priorities is to prioritise your priorities. Yes, you read that right! Not all priorities are created equal, and some are more important than others. Start by identifying the priorities that are most urgent and require your immediate attention. Then, move on to the priorities that can wait a little longer. By doing this, you’ll be able to tackle the most pressing issues first and prevent them from snowballing into bigger problems.
As a manager, it can be tempting to say yes to every request that comes your way. However, this can lead to overcommitment and conflicting priorities. Instead, learn to say “no” when you need to. Be polite but firm in your response, and explain why you can’t take on the request at this time. This will help you avoid taking on too much and allow you to focus on the priorities that matter most.
Conflicting priorities can often arise when different team members have competing goals or deadlines. To manage this, it’s important to communicate openly and regularly with your team. Encourage them to share their priorities and deadlines, and work together to find a way to balance everyone’s needs. By working collaboratively, you can find solutions that benefit everyone and avoid conflicts.
There are many tools available to help you stay organised and manage conflicting priorities. For example, you can use a project management tool to track tasks and deadlines, or a calendar app to schedule meetings and appointments. Find the tools that work best for you and use them consistently to stay on top of your priorities.
You can read more about our Tool Bible — a comprehensive guide to using online tools to manage productivity — here
Managing conflicting priorities can be stressful, and it’s important to take care of yourself so you can be at your best. Take breaks throughout the day and longer ones throughout the year to recharge and clear your mind.
It can feel counterintuitive to want to take a break when you have so much going on, and a never-ending to do list, however research shows taking mental breaks and changing your environment can have profound effects on your brain and productivity.
Go for a walk, grab a coffee, or simply take a few deep breaths. By taking care of yourself, you’ll be better equipped to handle any conflicting priorities that come your way.
In conclusion, managing conflicting priorities can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. By prioritising your priorities, learning to say “no,” communicating with your team, using tools to stay organised, and taking breaks, you can manage conflicting priorities like a pro!
Remember, even as a manager or leader, it’s okay to ask for help if you need it, and to be flexible when priorities change.
Want to learn how to manage like a pro? The Bespoke HR Management Essentials course is a 6 week intensive online program designed for new and emerging managers to learn the art of masterful communication, managing tough conversations, delegating and developing laser focus, performance management and managing probation periods. Learn more about the program here.