How to Resolve Conflicting Priorities that Lead to Work Conflicts?


Conflict is something that affects us all. It doesn’t matter what field we’re in, how nice we are, or how hard we try, conflict is inescapable. Many times, conflict can happen because of miscommunication or over conflicting priorities. 

I have done this to myself countless times. I take on too much and soon my priorities are all scrambled and I get overwhelmed which can create conflict between my coworkers. Maybe it’s because I’m frazzled and I’m a little snippier than usual. Or maybe it’s because I promised too many coworkers something that I ended up failing to make good on some of my promises. 

It’s all too common a phenomenon that conflicting priorities can put a strain on your work relationships. No one likes to think they’re the second fiddle. It’s a horrible feeling that lowers morale and affects your job performance.

If you failed to fix your priorities before they conflicted, it’s too late to go back. What you now need to focus on is resolving some of that unfortunate conflict that you accidentally caused in the workplace. Here’s how.


Be accountable

It’s important that your coworkers see that you’re holding yourself accountable for your actions. If you created a situation that forced you to have conflicting priorities, then they need to see that you’re trying to make things right. 

So what if Mark from accounting was pushing about the task he assigned you. You were the one who added it to your already large list of priorities. You caused the problem by saying yes in the first place. Be accountable and move on. 


Stop the blame


Have you ever heard of poking the bear? Pushing the blame on your other coworkers is only going to make things so much worse for you. It’s only going to increase their agitation and antagonize the situation. Your goal is to deescalate the situation. 

Use “I” phrases instead of “you” phrases so they don’t feel like they’re being attacked. Never name call or use words that are aggressive. For more tips on how to avoid the blame game, follow the link. 

Sit down and communicate calmly

Hash it out. Talk to your coworkers and let them know that you’ve taken on too much and you’re having a hard time prioritizing your tasks and goals. By talking openly about your concerns, they can assist you in reorganizing your priority list. They won’t think you’re just blowing them off either. This will show them that you care. 

Be open-minded to solutions


After you sit down with your coworkers and express your concerns about your huge list of priorities, it’s time you’re open to the solutions. This can prove to be tough because no one wants to feel as though they’re failing. 

Try not to think of it like that. Think of it as a learning experience that can help you improve your time management skills. 

For next time, make sure you avoid conflicting priorities and conflict by…

Taking time to digest the situation

Having a lot of tasks makes my mind spin sometimes. If I become too overwhelmed, I have a hard time focusing and I shut down. By taking some time to digest the important things on your list, you can calmly revaluate your priorities from top to bottom.

It will help you get out of the trenches so to speak because you’ll be focused enough to make a strategy to complete these tasks at once. 

Plan ahead

Before you say yes to any new task, ask yourself: Do I have time to complete everything on my list if I add more. If the answer is no, then you shouldn’t take on any more work. Make sure you’re looking ahead and at your schedule before you make any commitments. 

My best piece of advice to remove these conflicting priorities is to keep a planner with you at all times. This way, you can write notes to yourself and important dates that can help you avoid conflict in the future. 

Never take on more than you can chew

Don’t take on more than you can accomplish at once. My best piece of advice is to make one task a priority at a time. If you only have one thing on your priority list, nothing can compete with it and you, therefore, won’t have to worry about any potential conflict. 

Learn to say no. I’ve said it once before and I’ll say it again. Learn to say no. As Americans, we’re constantly told to give more and do more so that we can live our best lives. While it might be good in theory, if you do too much at once, you’re not going to be able to achieve as much as you would’ve had everything been done one after the other. 

Ask for help


I know it can seem lame or unprofessional, but it’s not. Asking for help at work can help you overcome your conflict fairly easily. Our coworkers love to help us, so if they can help remove some strain off our backs, they usually will. That way, your priorities can be completed in an efficient manner. 

For more information on the word no and why your dog should know it, click here

Log your time

If you’re doing multiple projects at once, you need to have total focus. If you’re logging your time and realize that you’re spending an extra hour every day on your phone instead of doing your job, then you not only have another form of conflicting priorities, but you’re also seeing how much time you’re wasting on the stupid things. 

Organizing your time can help you achieve more, stop conflicting priorities from happening, and take some of that load you’ve been carrying on your shoulders. 


  Conflicting priorities are a huge cause of workplace conflict. It’s a common issue if you’re a “yes” kind of person because you can’t say no even when you’re busy. Resolving and preventing conflicting priories is a good way to start your research on the subject .


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