Syncing Strategies: What to Do When You Have a Priority Clash with Leaders

Ever felt like your to-do list and your manager’s are locked in an eternal game of tug-of-war?

You’re not alone.

Aligning your priorities can sometimes feel like trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube—blindfolded and with one hand tied behind your back.

This can test interpersonal communication skills at all levels.

Research from the School of Applied Psychology in Queensland suggests that feeling in sync with your job tasks and organizational priorities is integral to staying engaged at work.

And get this: companies that bring their priorities into line with their customers’ can see their gross profit increase by nearly 20%.

But how aligned are we with employees with their leaders?  Less than you think, assert Mittal, Piazza and Malshe in their ongoing survey on strategic alignment.

Having gathered groups in organisations that included frontline employees to Senior Leadership, they found that while everyone nods along to an 82% alignment on corporate direction, the real symphony is playing at a more modest 23%.

It seems we’re all humming different tunes.

Further studies have shown that strategic dissent in leadership creates dysfunctional teams.  It’s the corporate equivalent of a food fight—it gets messy, and nobody wins.  It disrupts the strategic decision-making conga line.

So how do you get your manager or leaders to dance to the same beat?

A core part of influencing skills training is to be able to gain buy in from above as well as to influence your own team and peers.

Here’s how to synch up your priorities.

  1. The Bigger Picture: can you show how your tasks support the company growth? Clearly demonstrate how your priority aligns with the company’s objectives. For instance, if you’re advocating for a new software, explain how it will improve overall efficiency and contribute to the company’s growth.
  2. Co-create the Game Plan: Work together with your manager to develop strategies.  You’re less likely to have a clash when you co-create. For example, when suggesting a new process, involve them in the planning stage to ensure their insights are incorporated.
  3. Own it: Are you passing it upwards? Take responsibility for your initiatives. If you’re proposing a new policy, for example, be prepared to lead its implementation and show how it will address compliance issues directly.
  4. Listen Up: Bucking advice? Actively seek and consider your manager’s feedback. If you’re recommending changes to the team structure, listen to their concerns and suggestions to find a mutually agreeable solution.
  5. Pick your Battles: Prioritise issues based on their urgency and importance. As the tactics can change regular conversations and updates with your managers and teams are essential. If you’re pushing for a project that’s not immediately critical, be willing to postpone it in favour of more pressing matters.


So there you have it. With these strategies, you can turn a priority mismatch into a harmonious duet. Just remember, it’s about finding common ground, not battlegrounds.

Your Actions:

  1. Find Common Ground: Identify areas where you and your manager’s priorities overlap and focus on these for collaboration. If there’s no overlap, that may tell you that it’s not a priority.
  2. Maintain Regular, Open Communication: Don’t rely on telepathy. Keep the lines of dialogue open to ensure both you and your manager are on the same page throughout the execution of any plan.
  3. Be Adaptable: Your next step is unlikely to be static. Stay flexible and be willing to adjust your plans based on new information or changing circumstances.

By following these straightforward, workplace communication strategies, you can effectively make your priorities resonate with your manager’s and achieve your shared goals.

Are there any particular solutions you’ve come across? Hit the comments and let me know.


Find out how I can help you improve your influence skills and communication skills with a 15 minute discovery call.

Leave a Comment.

Please note that for privacy reasons your email address is not publicly displayed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share This: