Top struggles managers face but you don’t have to
It’s the transition into managerial role where most managers get promoted as result of their hard and excellent work. Therefore they end up with inadequate training for the job and are left to figure it out.
New managers struggle with miscommunication, people skills, delegating vs. doing and reporting up the ladder and a lot more.
In this article I am going to highlight the most commons struggles and I’ll suggest tips to improve.
I’ve been a manager for over 8 years now and my beginnings were lucky as I have went through 2 months training plan crafted by one of my managers to give me a good overview of all the departments including financing and HR.
In the current place where I work now, this is not the case. Talented people are promoted but barely ever supported.
Here are 4 signs of a struggling manager
MORALE. Do your team members seem happy? Do they seem engaged? Or do they just turn up for work because, well, they have to? Can you see any difference in their attitude? Do they feel valued? Do they feel appreciated?
INTERACTION. How often do you communicate with your team individually? Are there certain individuals you communicate with more often than others? Do you have a regular one-to-one meetings with them? How often do they receive feedback? Do they receive feedback at all? Or do they have to ask for it? How much do you know about individuals on your team? Do you know what their aspirations are?
NUMBERS. The easiest way to identify if the manager is doing well or not is by numbers. Is the team achieving set targets? Are the team members achieving required performance levels?
WORK SYSTEM. Is everyone on your team clear about targets and overall goals? And the most importantly, are you? Is any member of the team confused about expectations, directions or work assignments? Is anyone reporting not having the resources to get their job done? If the members of your team don’t feel challenged, act bored, or feel micromanaged, there’s likely issue with your approach to delegation.
You’ve been promoted because you’re smart, initiative and hard worker. Now you not only have to manage your work well, you’re also responsible for results of people working for you.
Up to this point, your main focus was on accomplishing your tasks. Now your main focus is on supporting others accomplish theirs. You’ve been in charge of yourself, now you have a team of people. Start by shifting your mindset and taking on approach of being a leader.
TIP: Let team members know you are still part of the team and allow them to raise any concerns and ask you questions.
Being a manager is rewarding role if you’re interested in peoples behaviour and motivation. Leading a team is tough things to do. You’ve got to make fast and effective decisions, keep the peace within the team, deal with any unexpected problems, know how to deal with different types of people with their own preferences (introverts, extroverts). Undoubtedly, you’ll need to develop soft skills.
If a new manager struggles, it’s multiplier because it affects the whole team. That can quickly result in low performance, poor morales and potentially turnover across the whole team if the problem persists either way it’ll affect the overall company’s success and will be noticed.
Since the day one, you’re under pressure to perform. As it works these days, your boss will expect the results from you since the day one while you’re still learning and taking baby steps in your new role. There’s pressure you put on yourself. You’ve been trusted and promoted and it feels like you need to prove yourself. And then there’s your team. They either don’t know you as a leader or have reservations towards you as a leader because up to this point you were their co-worker.
TIP: Set clear expectations with your boss and with your team.
According to research conducted by Gallup in 2017, “only 23% of employees strongly agree that their manager provides them with meaningful feedback.”
Communication is the key to any successful relationship, whether it is in your personal life or at work. Be accessible to your team members and let them know they are heard.
TIP: When any of the team members come to you, devote your full attention to them, stop what you were doing and focus on them.
Learn to manage your time. Finding the right balance between working on your tasks and ensuring your team is getting their tasks done sounds easier on the paper as it is in the real work life. The time is number one stressor, to avoid creating additional stress for yourself. Ensure you book time for you to accomplish your tasks and let your team know you’re only available is they need support.
Encouraging productivity is key to your success and success of your team. Everyone on your team is an individual with their own preferences, set of skills and talents. You’ve got to know your team members to be able to assign them right tasks. Ensure you support them with the right environment and tools so they can perform to the best of their abilities and be as productive as they can be.
Start believing in your ability to be a good manager. At the start of the new job, we all get caught up in doubts and insecurities, that’s natural but can be overcome. Start by developing soft skills. Develop self-awareness and be willing to receive feedback, both are extremely helpful to developing belief in your abilities as a good manager.
Remember you cannot please everyone. This is probably the trap that every manager falls into at some point of their career and especially at the beginnings. You are new at your role and your desire to do well may lead you right into the trap. You want people you work with to like you and respect you. But these not necessary go together. Instead of trying to please everyone, aim to be fair and consistent with all of the members of your team. Respect will follow.
According to research conducted by Gallup, ‘almost 70% of managers are scared to talk to their employees’.
In the research, managers were asked what they found most difficult about communicating with employees. ’37% of managers said they found it hard to give negative feedback about their performance, 20% said they struggled to share their own vulnerability, and another 20% disliked being the messenger for company policies.’
On the other hand, this is extremely alarming because one of the primary things employees need to feel engaged and what aids them to become more productive at work is meaningful communication from their managers.
Don’t avoid difficult stuff. You may have someone on your team who’s struggling to accomplish what you need from them or worse, they don’t want to. As with anything in life, you always have two options at minimum, you can ignore it or you can deal with it. Ignoring sounds easier but will have dramatic consequences on the rest of your team. As they will see what they can potentially get away with and overall this may result in poor performance of your team and loss of respect they had for you. Where on the other hand, if you deal with the difficult stuff, you set boundaries, you gain more respect and your team will continue to thrive.
Here are 6 ideas you can start with to help you become a better at your new role:
GET TO KNOW YOUR TEAM AND RECOGNISE THEIR EFFORTS
Each member on your team has their skills, strengths and their own goals. Help and support them to work on their goals and thrive. Motivating yourself is hard enough, not to mention motivating someone else to do what they perhaps don’t want to do. This is where coaching skills come in handy for you so you’re able to identify what motivates your team members, how to identify their unique strengths and how to address problems without breaking individual spirits.
BE FLEXIBLE and remember every member on your team is an individual with their own preferences, skills, talents and needs. Do not judge them based on your criteria. They all have different goals, so they will also have different standards, different opinions and different approach, recognising this and applying it will help you be a better leader to your team.
BE ACCESSIBLE TO YOUR TEAM Spend time with them daily, outside of the regular One to one meetings, to ask questions about work and their personal lives. You could also develop regular routines: regular staff meetings, monthly one-one-one meetings or random conversations.
RECEIVE AND ACCEPT FEEDBACK whether this is feedback from your boss or your team. It provides a valuable opportunity to grow and learn.
DEFINE OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES If people you work with struggle to accomplish or lack direction, in stead of blaming them, you need to look at your own communication. Did you clearly defined the goal? Do they all understand what your team is working towards achieving and what strategy you’re using? Failure to meet objectives is likely result of the poor instructions on your part. Be clear and simple. According to Gallup research, “employees want to see how their individual work contributes to the large goals of their team and the company”.
TIP: Meet with your team regularly to set clear objectives and the key results so that everyone knows what they are working towards.
DELEGATE WORK TO YOUR TEAM so you can concentrate on your role. Remember, you have got your responsibilities, your work load plus you need to ensure and monitor that everyone on your team is getting results you want to the standards required. Your boss will be delegating his work to you, so you need to also trust your team to accomplish tasks you need them too. Not delegating at all or not delegating enough may lead to becoming frustrated, overworked and exhausted.
As I mentioned earlier, a new managers are most of the time untrained in the role yet expected to deliver results while getting the best efforts from every member of the team. This is possible but it’ll take a lot of learning. In most companies, you will not receive adequate training for your job especially when it comes to one of the toughest parts of your job - dealing with and leading people. These skills are developed through practice over time.
My advice would be for you to not wait for your company offer you training but start learning wherever you can. Because the truth is you can. Start by reading articles, books, watching learning training videos, seeking advice from experience managers.
Are you newly appointed manager? Do you find yourself struggling at work? Let me know in the comments below what you most struggle with and I’ll do my best to give you tips and advice.