Career Development

12 Common Management Challenges and How to Overcome Them

September 8, 2020

Managers who oversee teams commonly face several challenges related to productivity and communication. Knowing how to recognize these challenges and address them helps increase a manager's confidence and ability to lead a team. In this article, we discuss the most common challenges of managing employees and ways to overcome these challenges.

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12 common management challenges

Here are some of the most common challenges managers face and how to overcome them:

  1. Decreased performance levels
  2. Being understaffed
  3. Lack of communication
  4. Poor teamwork
  5. Pressure to perform
  6. Absence of structure
  7. Time management
  8. Inadequate support
  9. Skepticism
  10. Difficult employees
  11. Transition from coworker to manager
  12. Weak workplace culture

1. Decreased performance levels

Employees may experience periods of time where they are not as productive as usual. A decrease in productivity can sometimes affect other team members and overall goals, making it important to help employees feel motivated.

Managers who consistently review processes and procedures within the company can increase efficiency. Perform a workflow analysis to review your current systems and restructure weak areas. Another way to address this challenge is by asking questions and offering solutions to their problems. One-on-one meetings provide a great opportunity for managers to reestablish work hours and expectations regarding work productivity.

Related: 7 Challenges of Working Remotely and How to Overcome Them

2. Being understaffed

Managers must recognize when it's time to hire another team member to help fulfill responsibilities within their department. Because the hiring process is time-consuming, it's helpful to get assistance from other managers and human resources professionals when pursuing a new candidate.

If needed, ask for help when creating a job description, interviewing applicants and selecting the right person for the desired role. Consider having applicants complete a sample work test to help you determine the best fit for your team.

3. Lack of communication

Another challenge managers face when overseeing teams is ensuring effective communication. Because every team member has a different personality, there is a chance for miscommunication from time to time.

Increase the frequency of communication to ensure employees know exactly what you expect of them and when you need them to complete it. Redefine standards that reinforce your team's goals and purposes. Consider implementing a messaging platform for the workplace that allows everyone to communicate quickly. Let them know if you prefer one form of contact over another.

4. Poor teamwork

Sometimes, employees may lose focus on collaboration when they spend a lot of time completing individual tasks. To re-establish teamwork, managers should revisit the purpose of a project. Managers who take the time to acknowledge their team's efforts and clarify the purpose of their work commonly see increased levels of motivation.

Consider dividing your team members into partners so they have a chance to work with someone for a specific project. Team-building exercises are another great way to help everyone learn how to work better together. Base the content of your exercises around the challenges your team faces. For example, if they need to get to know each other better, focus on relationship building.

5. Pressure to perform

Some managers, especially new managers, to feel like they are under pressure to achieve greatness from the very start of their role. If you frequently feel stressed about your leadership position, take time to revisit the reasons why you were hired for the job. Recognize that leaders learn from experience and mistakes. While planning helps, you will likely face unexpected situations. The way that you choose to resolve conflicts and react to challenges reflects your ability to lead.

6. Absence of structure

A common challenge that managers face in the workplace is the absence of structure, especially when overseeing a new team. Depending on the work environment, some teams may need to be supervised more closely than others in order to maintain productivity levels.

Take time to develop an organizational structure that helps employees know what you expect of them. In addition, show your team respect to encourage loyalty.

7. Time management

Because managers are responsible for overseeing the members of their team and communicating with other department heads, they typically struggle with balancing their own tasks. One way to prioritize your own work responsibilities is by scheduling time throughout the day to do specific work. Let your team know the times you'll be available to them and the times you plan to focus on your work. Regularly update your calendar, and share it with team members so they know when they can reach you.

Related: 10 Ways to Improve Your Time-Management Skills

8. Inadequate support

Managers sometimes need approval from the executive team of a company or the business owner before moving ahead with a project. When the decision-making process takes longer than expected, it may slow down their team's progress overall. The most important thing to do in this situation is to be honest with your team members. Let them know that you are waiting for information from the executive team, and if possible, allow them to work on other projects. Try to arrange for a one-on-one with the decision-maker to expedite progress.

9. Skepticism

Teams often question the transparency of management when they feel distanced from their supervisors, especially if certain employees feel like they are doing more work than others. When people feel they are not part of the plan, their level of trust becomes compromised. Clear communication and honest interactions help resolve skepticism in most instances because it builds trust between an employee and manager. When you delegate tasks, explain why you assigned it and how it contributes to the overall goal.

10. Difficult employees

Sometimes, managers oversee employees who cause tension in the workplace. Knowing how to properly address any issues before they become major problems is one common challenge managers face. To address specific concerns, request feedback from your team members to learn about any issues they may have with completing work or communicating with team members.

Implement any feasible suggestions to show you're listening to your team. Take time to listen to their concerns and find out what you can about the situation. If you're unsure of what to do next, consider enlisting the support of an HR professional in your company. Their training supports conflict resolution and other aspects of employee relations.

Related: How to Communicate Effectively with a Difficult Team

11. Transition from coworker to manager

People who get promoted at work often find themselves managing old coworkers. This situation may feel awkward at first, but with time and the right leadership, it may become less of an issue. Ensure team members that you're there to support their efforts and ensure they have everything they need to accomplish their goals. It may help to have a meeting shortly after the transition where you address the change in roles and allow your team members to ask any questions.

12. Weak workplace culture

When teams feel like they're not connected with the rest of the workplace, they could experience a decrease in motivation. Teams that feel they are part of a larger group, experience more confidence and trust. One way to promote a strong work culture is by planning lunch outings and rewarding employees who exceed expectations.