You might always have heard employees saying that if I become a manager then my life will become so easy and I have to sit and do nothing! But in real terms what they think is not the right scenario. Life of a manager is not as easy as the people perceive and you hardly ever hear from the mouth of the managers that management is an easy job. That is why Roger Needham says “Management is that for which there is no algorithm. Where there is algorithm, it is an administration”.
The path of becoming a successful manager is not so easy and there are a number of challenges on the way. A manager has to overcome a number of managerial problems coming time to time and has to find effective solutions to perform his role with effectiveness. Here are some of the most common managerial problems and ways to solve them effectively.
How to hold the employees accountable when they do not deliver?
This is no doubt the biggest challenge every management faces and when the employees do not deliver sufficient output than it becomes a big question of holding them accountable for it. The main issue is that no one wants to be called a “bad guy” and it can be damaging to the career prospects of someone. Accountability leads to conflicts in many situations and the environment becomes unpleasant ultimately. The situation is undesirable and unavoidable and the managers have to find the solution for the problem “How does a manager avoid developing an accountability problem?”
Well, the solution is straightforward and starts with full awareness and acceptance that accountability is a core task of management and you have to accept it and is an integral part at this level of business. You may not always like it but have to do it. If you really feel uncomfortable holding the employees accountable for what they do not deliver and facing their discomforts on this, then it is better you select a different line of work than holding this kind of authority. You can really be aided by many things in this endeavor but the bottom line is that you have to maintain the accountability of the employees.
Establishing the clear and measurable employee objectives:
Setting optimum employee objectives which are clear and measurable is the second most common managerial problem faced by the managers. If the goals for employees are unclear, non- existent, obsolete and difficult to be measured then it will certainly create more managerial issues including accountability problems as the time goes on.
The solution to this problem is not as difficult as it seems and by setting clear objectives and goals known to everyone, it will be easy to hold someone accountable for that which he had not achieved. When the height of the bar is clear to everyone i.e. objectives are clear then accountability becomes less of an issue and discussions about the results are rational and based on facts. That is why managerial gurus always say that objectives which are well-conceived are the best friends of a rational manager.
Career development of the employees:
Another most common and serious issue faced by the management is the development of the employees. When the employee development needs are not fulfilled then it leads to the employee dissatisfaction and may lead to disengagement in most of the cases. When a manager takes interest in the employee’s career development and skills enhancement then it ultimately sends a very positive message to employee and brings retention and more engagement of the employee in the company’s activities.
The most common reason why the managers are not able to provide career development and support is the unavailability of time. They say that there is not enough time to handle such tasks. But employee career development should not be taken as a strenuous task and it should be taken as a soft activity and an important one. Employee training and career development activities are long term investment and they really require minimum efforts at less effective costs.
Employee development activities should be taken as a priority task along with other operational activities and the managers should really carve out the time with their employees to perform it. The positive effects will not appear soon but after some time they will start coming out and you will see the results in the form of more retention rate of employees and more engagement and productivity. Therefore spending more time with the employees in their career and growth activities is really important for the managers and they should really work hard to carve out some time for these activities.
Changing scope of a project:
Scope change is one of the most dangerous things that can happen to a project. If such projects are not handled properly then it can result in spending of extra cost and time and project may incur losses. Even a small modification like changing the color of logo or addition of a webpage can result in project delay and can be problematic.
The solution to this major managerial problem can be achieved by defining the scope from the outset and monitoring the project on a regular basis. The best thing is to track change requests separately from the original scope of the project and providing estimates clearly on how will it affect the project schedule. Getting an explicit customer or the stakeholder approval for each change is very important in this scenario.
Slow communication with the client:
Another big object in the inventory of big managerial problems is the slow communication with the client. People are really busy and they don’t have the time to communicate on a regular basis. Therefore it is tough for managers to move forward on a project if they do not get answers on specific project issues.
A good solution to this problem can be achieved by increasing the response rate by working ahead of time. The best thing is start working in the direction you think best and then ask verification from the client. This is really a good strategy and this will help you to save your time in waiting for the back and forth communication and you just need to get the “yes” or “no” from the client.
So in short, the approach for solving these most common managerial problems is simple and not much difficult. The only thing needed to handle these issues is to take the best managerial approach and this is what expected from the ideal managers who well know how to manage and excel the art of management!
Contributed by Ashish Singh Parihar ( Class of 2008, IBS PUNE )