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June 22, 2012

Working With Multiple Managers

Inevitably, when working for multiple managers, you will find yourself swamped with tasks that all need to be done at the same time. It is critical to know whose tasks get top priority. Sometimes, it might be a certain type of task that takes priority, regardless of who assigns it to you. Here are some tips to help you juggle multiple managers:

  • Be direct and specific. Make sure you know what your job description entails and use assertive communication skills. Remind people making requests that you have multiple priorities, and you will make a judgment call as to which one is your TOP priority.
  • Ask for specific deadlines to help you prioritize. Be sure to get a specific date when something is due. “ASAP” is not a date! If a manager cannot or will not give you a specific date, give the manager a reasonable deadline by which you can get the work done.
  • Speak up about scheduling and deadline conflicts. When multiple managers want their work done at the same time, let each manager know there is a conflict. Try asking them to work it out and tell you what work should come first or ask for enough authority to set priorities on your own.
  • Know who your ultimate manager is. This person has the authority to ensure you are not overwhelmed and can operate at peak productivity. If you have 12 people pulling you in 12 different directions, it is a given that your productivity will suffer. You can be much more productive if you do not have to communicate with all of them every time a potential change comes up.

Refer my post “Juggling Multiple Managers” at  for additional tips.

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