Department of Defense

Prioritization Training

It is a byproduct of our multitasking culture that many managers, especially middle managers, don't know how to prioritize workload. To many people prioritizing means multitasking, do everything but do it in a random if convenient order. The difference between what is important and what is merely urgent is frequently lost, and nice-to-do's get as much attention as anything else. No thought is given to actually restricting workload to a reasonable amount with effort focused on doing things that are important first. I truly believe that a significant number of the suicides experienced in the Air Force in recent years can be directly traced to the frantic, impulsive, multitasking communication style of managers who have not (even in their own minds) decided what it is really necessary for their teams to accomplish (first, second, third) and what is not only unrealistic but unnecessary for the mission. Unfortunately I am going to recommend training for managers on the missing skill of prioritizing. I say "unfortunately" because the thick fog of multipurpose training endured by government employees is a perfect example of the lack of meaningful prioritization in government processes today. PS: I say all this as a first-line supervisor myself.

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Idea No. 17582