10 common management issues – and how to overcome them

January 08, 2023  •  Reading Time: 10 min.

As people advance in their careers, at some point, moving on to management is often a natural next step. While climbing up the management ladder, of course, comes with rewards, it can also bring its own difficulties.

While overseeing teams, managers commonly face several challenges. Knowing how to recognize and address these challenges can help to increase a manager’s confidence and leadership ability.

While some challenges are specific to new managers, most will follow you through your entire career. And even if you’ve been managing employees for ages, there still might be some management issues for which, at first glance, it seems like there are no good solutions.

However, we’ve got you covered! In this article we’ve listed the 10 most common management challenges and, on top, provide ways to overcome them.

10 common management issues

The challenges of managing a team depend on various factors, e. g. the external business environment. To find out what managers are facing today, we take a closer look at some of the most common challenges:

  • Communicating effectively
  • Making employees feel motivated
  • Promoting teamwork
  • Handling conflicts within your team
  • Managing your time
  • Letting an employee go
  • Hiring the right fit for your team
  • Avoiding micromanagement
  • Dealing with performance problems
  • Setting clear goals and promoting the company’s mission

How to overcome management challenges

Let’s dive deeper into the individual challenges now. For each, we’ll explore what’s challenging about it and how you can master it.

#1 Communicating effectively

There can often be a certain distance between managers and the rest of the team members resulting from their different duties and the power dynamic. This creates one of the biggest challenges for managers: bridging the distance with effective and open communication, e. g. when it comes to constructive feedback.

When a manager isn’t communicating well with their employees, not only could it do harm to the manager-employee-relationship, but it could also be adding to employees’ work-related stress and lowering performance.

💪 How to overcome this:

As a manager you should increase the frequency of communication and encourage employees that they’re welcome to approach you with any matters that are of importance to them.

Also, everyone communicates differently and each team member has their own personality. Some communication methods might work well for one employee, but won’t work for others. You should get to know your team and discover the different personality types. This will allow you to communicate more effectively and be more understanding.

💡 Tip: Hold brief, casual conversations with employees on a regular basis to make sure you’re not always just talking to them about potentially intimidating topics like performance.

#2 Making employees feel motivated

Not every work day is an exciting one. For both you and your employees, tasks can become monotonous or seem unnecessary from time to time. As a result, your team members may question the need for certain tasks and processes and their motivation may decrease.

Keeping everyone motivated and productive can even challenge managers that have been overseeing employees for several years.

Male and female colleague in business clothing sitting at a desk, laughing and giving each other a high five

💪 How to overcome this:

Check your goals and reevaluate whether you are presenting them in a way that encourages your employees to come up with new ideas. It is important, that employees understand the value in their work and how it contributes to the company’s overall goals.

💡 Tip: In our article on creating a positive work environment at the workplace we clarify what a positive work environment is and how you can encourage employees. It’s definitely worth reading!

#3 Promoting teamwork

Productive collaboration among employees is a basic requirement for many, if not most, tasks. However, team members’ work styles may vary or even differ dramatically. If this is the case, it’s the managers’ responsibility to create a workplace that merges the different approaches.

💪 How to overcome it:

The first step to overcome this management challenge is to understand the different work styles within your team. A good manager explores how work productivity is highest on an individual level and manages to incorporate everyone’s different approaches into an overall team-based plan.

To make sure, each team member willingly participates in your efforts, all employees need to have a clear understanding of why working together as a team is important.

Multicultural team working together on a task

#4 Handling conflicts within your team

In a dream world, you have a perfectly harmonized team that constantly works well together. However, this dream doesn’t always come true, and, as in any interpersonal relationship, conflicts can arise between team members.

If a conflict stays unsolved, it can quickly affect productivity and morale within the team. Hence, it is your job as a manager to identify and resolve emerging interpersonal problems early, before they become bigger concerns.

💪 How to overcome this:

When conflict arises between team members, it’s important that you first fully understand the problem before you take any action. A conflict involving specific work could actually lead to innovative thinking and new solutions – but it’s your job to steer it in a productive direction.

If a conflict between colleagues becomes personal, you should intervene before it affects their working relationship and the rest of the team. Encourage fair and open conversations in such situations. Act as the voice of reason and help your employees reach a solution more quickly.

Another way of managing conflict is to remind your team of your organizational culture and values. After all, you hired your employees based on these values, and in a company built on, for example, trust and respect, personal conflict should be kept to a minimum.

💡 Tip: Check out our article about conflict resolution in the workplace and learn how to resolve a conflict in seven steps.

#5 Managing your time

Because managers are typically responsible for a multitude of additional tasks, e.g. coordinating the team and reporting to other departments, most managers struggle to balance their time and tasks. Losing track of time in just one meeting can easily lead to an absolute delay in the tightly set schedule for a workday.

💪 How to overcome it:

Start prioritizing your work responsibilities. One way to do that is by scheduling time throughout the day to do specific work. Strategically planning your work days can give you an overview of where you need to focus your attention.

Additionally, let your team know the times you’ll be available to them and when you plan to focus on your work. Regularly update your calendar and share it with the team, so everyone knows when you’re available.

You should also learn how to delegate tasks among your employees. Knowing who can best handle demanding tasks and letting that person take on some of your responsibilities can be extremely helpful with your time management.

Close up of business man buttoning his suit

#6 Letting an employee go

Letting someone from their team go is probably one of the toughest decisions managers have to make – and it’s something you don’t really want to get too comfortable doing.

The truth is: There’s no easy way around this one. Employee termination always requires an unpleasant conversation – no matter why you need to let the employee go.

💪 How to overcome this:

First of all, you should always try to avoid firing an employee before doing so. Have one-on-one meetings to discuss their behavior or performance problems, talk about possible solutions, set a probation period for the employee, and reassess them at the end of this period.

However, if you do have to fire an employee, make sure you provide an honest explanation. Keep communication open, both with the affected employee and with the remaining team, which, after all, is also affected by the loss.

It is your job to come up with a plan on how to compensate for the gap that will be created in your team and their workflow.

💡 Tip: Use our blog post on termination letters to learn more about how to terminate an employment contract. In it, we provide useful tips on how to properly terminate an employment relationship and what to include in the termination letter.

#7 Hiring the right fit for your team

Hiring new employees and introducing them to the team is a big decision. During the hiring process there might be dozens of applications from candidates with excellent grades, skills and experience. But this doesn’t mean that they will also be a good (cultural) fit for the team.

Good managers are capable of distinguishing between a good qualification or a good cultural fit, and finding the right mix of the two. Always keeping in mind that the wrong hire can easily have a negative impact on productivity and team spirit.

💪 How to overcome this:

First of all, clearly envision what and who you are looking for in the open position. Don’t just pick new employees by gut feeling, but set up a tough process that not only addresses professional qualifications, but also encompasses values, personality traits and principles. Consult closely with the HR team on this.

Also try involving other team members at some point to get a second opinion. After all, they’ll have to work with the newcomer, too.

Happy male job candidate handshaking with manager after successful job interview

#8 Avoiding micromanagement

Given that they are under a lot of pressure to perform in their position, many managers wish to control each and every work step in their department. After all, they want it to look like they have their team under control – and ultimately, managers are the ones who take the fall when performance is off.

Although the quality of the employees’ work can be a reflection of management skills, employees still shouldn’t be supervised helicopter-style. Micromanaging them in this way can impair their independent working skills.

💪 How to overcome this:

You should delegate tasks while clearly communicating what your expectations are for the outcome. Instead of constantly checking in on the status of tasks, the most you should do is let employees update you on their progress on a regular basis, e. g. during jour fixes.

Moreover, you should offer your employees to come to you with questions at any time between assignments. Trust in your leadership qualities and in your employees’ abilities.

#9 Dealing with performance problems

There may be periods where employees are not as productive as usual. A decrease in productivity can sometimes affect the whole team and overall goals. Thus performance problems are always going to be a concern for managers.

💪 How to overcome this:

One solution is to consistently review processes, perform workflow analyses and restructure weak areas. Another way to address performance problems is by listening to your employees and offering solutions to their problems. For example, you could schedule one-on-one-meetings to reestablish expectations and make sure employees have clear targets and goals in place.

Graphic illustration of tiny business people tracking the company's performance

#10 Setting clear goals and promoting the company’s mission

Providing clarity is one of the most important skills for managers, and it’s not always easy. Each and every employee needs to have a clear understanding of the company’s mission and how they personally contribute to it.

💪 How to overcome this:

Communication is key. As a manager, you should always remain focused and emphasize the organizational values in meetings and training materials. Help your employees understand what is expected of them. While doing so, give your team members the chance to ask questions and make sure you and your employees are on the same page.

Management issues – FAQ

What are management issues?

Management issues are any matters requiring action or decision by a a representative from the management level of a company. The term often refers to situations in which there is a (potential) gap between a given current state and a desired state.

What is an example of a management problem?

Some examples for management problems are decreased performance levels, a lack of communication, the absence of structure or poor teamwork.

How can management challenges be solved?

To overcome management challenges you can begin by prioritizing the problems and then tackle the ones you can control. Open communication, clear goal setting and expectation management are some of the key components to solve management challenges.

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