No matter the size of your organisation, challenges form an endemic part of your business, from issues relating to how you oversee your staff, to organisational dilemmas. Managers must be ready to navigate a number of challenges; here are some of the most common.
1. Staff conflicts
All businesses rely heavily on the performance of their staff, this means internal conflicts can have devastating effects. To counteract this, you need to make sure you develop a culture of respect and demonstrate open communication in order to support your employees to feel comfortable, motivated, engaged and productive.
Find ways to boost staff morale by being flexible with work hours (where viable) and helping your employees to identify what they need to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Coaching or counselling services are a great option where it is practical to implement them and adopting an open-door policy is always a good way to encourage communication.
As well as addressing conflicts between other staff members, you also need to look at how to approach discussions and situations where you may be the one under pressure. Delivering difficult news, especially in times plagued by economic problems, is far from easy and it’s important that you’re prepared to manage the situation effectively.
You need to think carefully about the approach you’ll take to this and management development workshops could help. Firms such as Steps use drama and interactive activities to help you perfect your management and leadership skills. Steps programmes are aimed at optimising performance in conflict management, stress management, coaching, mentoring and many others.
According to a 2012 survey, employee engagement is a ‘very important’ challenge for management with 63% of respondents expressing this view. Two fifths of those asked (42%) also admitted they tracked employee engagement by monitoring staff retention rates and conducting surveys and exit interviews.
The relationship between management and staff is considered the driving force behind employee engagement so it’s important you get your management style right. No ‘one size fits all’ here- it’s about finding your individual management style and developing this to its optimum.
3. Performance assessment
Managers aren’t only responsible for tracking the progress of the business, they must also assess the performance of staff; both independently and as part of larger departments. Challenges arise when trying to motivate staff to help boost productivity and it is times like this when it’s important to remember the impact of morale on performance.
Adopt a flexible but firm approach, this shows staff you are willing to negotiate but won’t be taken advantage of. Scheduling regular meetings which give employees individual feedback on their performance is always recommended and can be used in conjunction with group sessions which help whole departments assess their work. You may also want to consider a reward system which celebrates high performance with the allocation of appropriate incentives.
It’s commonly held though, that the key to optimum performance lies in creating a culture of respect and building employee engagement. Those more engaged will be more likely to work to the best of their ability and an organisation which recognises this contribution will deliver superior results.