Whenever people talk about being a manager, it can be described as exciting, rewarding, and fulfilling. However, another very common phrase used to describe management is that it is also very challenging.
Team management means being able to walk the fine line between meeting your business targets while interacting regularly with your employees and making sure they are growing and engaged. It isn’t a walk in the park and many managers face issues on a daily basis.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most common management issues in the workplace today and tips on how to address them.
Good Management Matters
Good managers are the lifeblood of an organization. In most instances, the spotlight is put on the employees or on the company’s top leadership, but managers across all levels of the business are key components to business success.
This is because managers help ensure that everyone across the organization is on the same page. Top leadership can’t be responsible for every single employee, especially in large corporations.
They need to rely on good managers to look after their teams, ensure targets are met, and nurture employee engagement. In fact, employee development is probably one of the most important jobs a manager has.
With a company’s success hinging on productive and engaged employees, managers need to ensure that they are meeting their team members’ needs including challenging them, teaching them, and giving proper feedback.
At the end of the day, employees leave managers, not companies. With this in mind, managers must be constantly well informed, agile, adaptable, and quick to act.
Part of the success of their job is recognizing what potential issues might crop up so that they can prepare ahead of time and address them effectively.
Common Management Issues in the Workplace
Each business is unique and with their own unique challenges. However, there are also universal challenges that managers face regardless of the industry or type of business.
Here are the top 5 most common management issues and how to address them:
1. Poor Communication
Communication is paramount to the success of any venture, be it business or personal. In order for teams to be successful, they must communicate regularly and efficiently with one another. This type of open dialogue culture starts with the team manager.
Sometimes managers get so preoccupied with hitting business targets that they forget to schedule regular alignment meetings with their team members. This can lead to a breakdown in communication, which can lead to even bigger problems later on.
To mitigate this issue, always make it a point to schedule team catch-ups and meetings. Even just once a week can make a difference. A short meeting is enough to gauge how your team is doing and whether there are any issues.
In addition, if managers make themselves regularly available, employees will eventually make it a habit to approach them when something comes up.
2. Lack of Accountability
Accountability is an integral component of any business. Still, many managers have a difficult time implementing employee accountability in their teams.
According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, 46% or one out of every two managers is terrible at accountability. This is usually because managers don’t want to be the bad guy.
The problem is that somebody has to hold employees accountable when they fall short of their responsibilities. If not, they will simply do it again.
Managers must understand that it’s not necessarily bad to point out shortcomings to a team member. Constructive criticism will make someone better.
Don’t just chastise employees when mistakes are made. Hold them accountable but also teach them to learn from their misstep so they can avoid repeating it and grow at the same time.
3. Not Managing Expectations
Along the same lines as accountability, a good manager must be both optimistic and pragmatic when it comes to setting deliverables and key performance indicators (KPIs) for team members.
While you want to set the bar high and challenge your employees to rise to the occasion, you also have to be realistic and set meaningful objectives that are challenging, achievable, and measurable.
If expectations aren’t set in the beginning in black and white, there can be room for misinterpretation.
On the other hand, if employees know what they are working towards, they’re better equipped to map out their progress and much more likely to achieve success.
From the very beginning, communicate your expectations with your employees and establish the most efficient way of meeting these goals.
4. Recognizing Conflict Resolution
In any team, there is a potential for conflict. This is even more likely in a work setting where the stakes are high and unique, strong-minded individuals are brought together to reach a common goal.
It is a manager’s job to be able to recognize potential problems within their teams and find the best way to resolve them. This can get challenging because not all employees will outright say if there is a problem. That’s usually when breakdowns happen.
It’s important for managers to face potential conflicts head-on and look for ways to resolve them peacefully while listening to both sides, diffusing emotions, and finding win-win solutions.
Whether it’s trust issues, performance problems, or even just personality clashes, teams have to know that their manager is impartial and not afraid to intervene.
What’s more, managers should never brush off conflicts as one-offs but instead, note these down as they arise so they can recognize potential conflicts earlier in the future.
5. Not Focusing on Employee Feedback and Development
With so many things on a manager’s to-do list, it’s easy to understand how certain things may be pushed to the back burner.
One of these things is often employee development. When teams are only concerned with meeting targets, the future is often put on hold. However, managers need to be cognizant that employee development is integral to engagement and retention.
Taking a proactive interest in an employee’s training, development, and promotion sends a positive message that shows team members that their manager appreciates them and wants to see them succeed.
Furthermore, upskilling is vital to the success of any business. According to studies, 35% of skills most workers need will have changed by 2020.
In such a fast-paced and ever-changing business landscape, employees need to be able to learn and adapt if they want their skills to remain relevant and valuable.
To help remind you of employee development, set progress checkpoints or project milestones from the very beginning as reminders to look into how employees have grown.
This lets both parties better scale development in terms of what they’ve accomplished, where they are headed, and what they want to do next.
Effective Managers Must Always Be Aware of Potential Issues
There are many common issues managers may face while on the job. The best way to be able to address them efficiently and quickly is by being prepared beforehand. Educate yourself about potential issues by talking to your team members, leadership, and even Human Resources.
Don’t just wait for a problem to arise before you address it. Forecast carefully and you’ll be able to craft solutions ahead of time and make it easier to efficiently solve problems when they happen.