How to Work for Multiple Managers

How to Work for Multiple Managers
Work is challenging enough when you only have one manager in the office. What happens when you have two? Chaos! The challenge is particularly difficult if they are exactly opposite in personality, demands and expectations. Don’t give up! Before you throw in the towel, here are 3 tips on how to work for multiple managers.

Organize it! Call it systemize, classify, categorize or simply put in order, it all means the same thing. The terminology you use is not important. Working for more then one manager requires you to set the gold standard in organization.


Chances are the work is completely different. What happens when you have a mass of paperwork on your desk or folders with paperwork falling out? Inevitably, you will shove papers into the wrong folders. What happens next? A panic attack occurs trying to find that one single sheet of paper with the figures you needed to create the report due by 5:00.

Set up an organizational system which clearly differentiates the work being done for the separate managers. Color code, different file drawers – whatever works for you. Organization is going to be the key to maintaining work more multiple managers.

Prioritize it! Call it what you will – precedence, main concern, utmost important. Organization followed by prioritization will be the key. Understand the priorities for each manager and throw your own priorities into the mix. Make sure your priorities, however, are based on their priorities. Confirm any and all deadlines. Successful prioritization also includes verifying that you have the information, resources and materials that you need to get the job done. If you are not sure about priorities ask. If you have two tasks with the same deadline, ask.


Imagine that you spent 5 hours working on a task. A few minutes after you are done, your manager asks you for the report she has been waiting on all day. Now with zero time left, you have to finish an 8 hour project and get it on her desk by the close of business. What about the report you spent 5 hours working on? It’s not due until next week. Understanding your manager’s priorities will help you work smart, not harder.

Divide to conquer

Two or more separate managers also suggest two or more separate personalities and preferences. What works for one will not work for the other and it is not your job to get them to change. Your job is to learn how to work with each one. You need to learn their preferences and work related likes and dislikes. If one manager likes for you to come into his office and check his in box and the other would rather bring work to your desk. Go with it.

With the current economy and company downsizing, it’s possible to end up performing work for more than one manager. Even if you only have one manager, you also might end up doing work for your manager’s manager. Learning how to get it down without going crazy is the key to a long successful position within any organization.

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