Home » Blog » People Management » 9 common management challenges and how to overcome them

9 common management challenges and how to overcome them

Being a manager may come with its share of perks. You might get your own office, or maybe even a boost in pay. Plus, don’t forget about the respect and empowerment of the position itself. As a leader, you’ll be someone others on your team and throughout your organization will look up to. After all, there’s a reason why becoming a manager is often considered such a career milestone.

But despite these advantages, the hard truth is that management can be one of the hardest jobs you’ll ever have. Not only will you be responsible for your own performance, but that of anyone who reports to you as well. This means you’ll have to confront myriad challenges – from maintaining morale to resolving conflicts – you’d never face as an individual.

A personalized leadership approach for each team member.

PI’s behavioral insights help leaders inspire and coach each employee in a way they truly connect with.

However, once you learn how to deal with these challenges, being a manager can also be incredibly rewarding. Let’s review some of the most common.

Boosting team productivity

Helping your team become as productive as possible is a core responsibility of management. But simply pressuring them to work harder can quickly result in burnout. Instead, maintaining an efficient and effective team will require a more strategic approach.

You should start by making sure your team’s goals and expectations are understood by everyone. Each team member should know exactly what they are doing and why. You should also ensure everyone has access to the tools and resources they need to do their job. Try to establish a culture of open communication as well so that employees feel comfortable coming to you to ask for clarification or request the resources they need. 

Once these core strategies are established, you can start to focus on more specific ways to enhance productivity, such as effectively delegating tasks, streamlining processes, and providing consistent feedback.

Enhancing employee well-being

Managers who take care of their employees’ well-being will be more likely to see improved productivity, fewer conflicts, and higher morale, among many other benefits. They’ll also show that they value their employees not just as workers, but as well-rounded people too.

By far, one of the best ways to improve well-being is by offering increased flexibility. If possible, you can do this by giving your team the option of either hybrid or fully remote options. Alternatively, you could offer more flexible work hours, or set clear expectations around after-hours communication in order to stress a healthier work-life balance. Other ideas include access to physical or mental health services, recognition programs, professional development opportunities, and social events.

It’s also important to note that employee well-being is not something you can simply set and forget. Instead, effective managers will know to continuously check in with their team to better understand what they need.

Cultivating a positive company culture

While closely related to employee well-being, creating a positive company culture means paying attention to the needs of your team as a whole, rather than just individuals. It means building a workplace that values appreciation and respect.

You can do this by working with your team to clarify the values and behaviors that they should emulate. Make sure everyone fully understands how they should treat others and communicate their needs to them. You should also establish a concrete process for conflict resolution that addresses issues quickly and fairly. Make sure employees feel empowered by providing them with plenty of autonomy and encouraging them to take part in decision-making processes. This will promote a greater sense of ownership among employees.

Do not forget to also lead this process through your own example. Model the positive attitude you’d like to see, as well as any other behaviors.

Fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Making your workplace into a diverse and inclusive place is not just a good way to turn into a healthier and more equitable environment. By elevating everyone’s voice, it can also make it more creative and productive as well.

A good place to begin is by building the foundation for understanding. You can do this by offering diversity and inclusion training for your employees. This should include lessons in how unconscious bias can negatively impact decision-making, as well as how to avoid this. Pair these trainings with policies that help promote greater diversity and inclusion. These should affect everything from how employees are interviewed and hired, the way promotions are determined, and how performance evaluations are conducted.

But diversity and inclusion isn’t all about education and enforcement. You should also take time to celebrate your employees’ different cultures and backgrounds. This kind of positive reinforcement can often be the most effective.

Strategies for increasing staff retention

Nothing can hurt your managerial standing worse than employee churn. Not only will this impact productivity, it also is clear evidence of dysfunctional leadership. This makes it vital for you to put in place measures to make sure your employees stick around.

An easy way to do this is by making recognition and rewards an integral aspect of your organization. For example, you could reserve time at the start of your weekly meetings to call out the work of a particular employee. You could also tie exceptional performance to bonuses, promotions, and other incentives. It’s important to make sure you’re investing in employee growth and development too. This may include providing continuing education programs, creating opportunities for skill-building, and offering to have open discussions about their professional goals.

Of course, fair compensation also needs to play a part in staff retention. Ensure everyone is receiving competitive pay and benefits, then regularly review their compensation to ensure it remains this way.

how to hire a top-performing construction manager

Strategic onboarding

Setting employees up for success is another basic responsibility of every manager. And there’s no better (or smarter) way to do that than by focusing on how they get onboarded.

This process should begin before the employee’s start date. Send them a detailed overview of your onboarding plan that outlines what they’ll do over the first few weeks or months, introduces key team members, and answers common questions. Make sure to also send out welcome emails and packages to give them a head start. Once they begin, kick start the process by assigning them a buddy or mentor to guide them through the onboarding process. You should also help them build relationships by scheduling introductory meetings with key stakeholders and providing them with plenty of opportunities to connect with their co-workers through social events.

Throughout, remember to continually monitor employee progress and ask for feedback in order to better address their needs and hone your onboarding process.

Whether they’re faced with a daunting new project or internal company changes, uncertainty can be challenging for many employees to deal with. But as a manager, you play a crucial role in helping support them during these times. 

The most basic, but arguably important, thing you can do is to simply acknowledge their concerns. This kind of recognition can provide them with important validation, which will encourage them to seek out additional resources or advice. You can also help them better understand the situation by offering any context so that they see the big picture. Once this is established, you can focus on offering them specific support, training, or tools for navigating the challenge.

As you do all this, try to also reframe the unknown as an opportunity for growth and development. Although change can be scary, it can also be a catalyst.

Discovering motivation drivers

Keeping employees productive, happy, and engaged means knowing how to continuously motivate them. Although some motivational strategies, like incentives, are generally universal, understanding how to uncover the specific ways to inspire individual employees can be even more effective.

Start by having one-on-one conversations with your employees. Sit them down and discuss their career goals, interests, and what makes them tick. This is the most direct way of understanding their motivations. You can also send out surveys so that employees can give you anonymous feedback on their aspirations and inspirations. Other ways for figuring out their motivations can include simply standing back and watching which tasks or projects individuals take on, or looking backwards to understand what has worked well in the past.

Try to also stay attuned to non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions or body language, as you do your job. You may be surprised by how much you can learn from what’s not said.

It may well be the most challenging aspect of the job, but managers must still know how to properly and professionally terminate an employee. This means not only knowing how to do it, but also understanding when it is time. While this can be difficult, it is an essential part of taking care of your team.

The most important part of letting someone go is figuring out when you should do it. Wait too long and you risk harming other employees, but do it too soon and you may not have proper grounds. All this makes it vital to keep proper documentation leading up to the termination. Write down any actions that violate company policies and keep a close record of their performance. When you have sufficient evidence, choose a private location and come prepared with your reasoning, as well as any logistical details. 

As you do all this, remember to be direct, clear, and empathetic. Don’t burden them with excessive details. Instead, respectfully explain why they’re being let go, while also acknowledging the difficulty of the situation. If done well, this process won’t involve any personal feelings.

David is a freelance writer and PI contributor. When he’s not writing, he’s probably thinking about food. He believes pretzels are superior to potato chips and you can’t convince him otherwise.

View all articles
Copy link