Manager Problems: How To Overcome Common Workplace Challenges

Whether you’re new to a managerial position or have been doing it for years, new problems arise all the time. How you approach these problems will help define your success, so we’ve taken a look at some of the most common manager problems and how you can overcome them.

Managers are responsible for many things, but there are some common manager problems that they often encounter.

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

10 Manager Problems & How To Overcome Them

Problem 1: Employee Scheduling

If your business runs on shift work, then employee scheduling can be challenging. You’ve got to balance everybody’s needs and ensure you have the right mix of people working at any given moment.

Take a busy restaurant for example. You’ve got busy periods and quiet periods, you need chefs, waiters, barmen, greeters, and supervisors, and that’s before you even think about things like PTO.

All of this can lead to an endless number of amended spreadsheets and frustrated employees.

How to Overcome

The best way to overcome this manager problem is with employee scheduling software like ZoomShift.

When you’re dealing with so much information, you need to be able to see it all in one place and communicate efficiently. ZoomShift has an easy drag and drop feature that make it easy to move shifts around and find the right mix of employees.

You can effortlessly approve PTO requests and once you’ve assigned shifts, your employees will automatically be notified. Save shifts and schedules as templates so you can repeat them for future weeks and save time and hassle with your employee scheduling.


Problem 2: Managing Employee Performance Issues

As a manager, part of your job is to create an environment where your employees can perform to the best of their abilities. People’s performance levels fluctuate though, and there will be times when you feel an employee is underperforming.

We all lead complicated lives and there can be many different reasons as to why an employee isn’t achieving their potential. As a manager, it’s your job to spot when someone’s performance levels drop and find ways to help them do their best work.

Successful management of your entire team’s performance can make a huge difference to your overall output.

How to Overcome

Goal setting is a huge part of managing employee performance. If you take the time to set clearly defined goals, then you and the employee have something by which they can measure their performance.

If you find they’re failing to live up to these goals, then the best thing to do is communicate. Find out why they’re struggling to reach their goals and offer them the support they need to improve their performance.

Problem 3: Being Understaffed

This is something managers often face, particularly in industries like hospitality and retail where there are high turnover rates. Sometimes our workforce is stretched thin and it’s how you manage it that will decide whether or not you succeed.

The tradeoff with being short-staffed is clear – you save money on payroll, but the question is can you maintain the quality of your work?

With its shift swap feature and automated time-off requests, Zoomshift can help ensure you’re getting the most out of your scheduling, but what happens when you just don’t have enough staff available?

How to Overcome

You have to stay calm when you’re short-staffed. If you show that you’re nervous about the situation, then this will pass on to your staff, causing them to become frantic.

The best way to overcome being short-staffed is by maximizing your performance in the areas you can control. Make sure you’re being even more efficient with your organization and communication, allowing you to get the best performance out of the staff you do have available to you.

Problem 4: Communicating Effectively

Everybody is different. Each person responds to a different management style and a different style of communication. One of the biggest manager problems is understanding how best to communicate with each employee. According to a study by Interact, 69% of managers are uncomfortable communicating with employees.

If you look at any job description, then communication is likely to be one of the leading requisites. This is especially true when you’re managing people.

A lack of communication can leave your employees in the dark but at the same time, the wrong style of communication can be counterproductive.

How to Overcome

Focus on being proactive with your communication and work on personalizing it to each employee. The better you understand what motivates each employee, the easier it will be to adapt your communication to fit their needs.

Remember that it’s not just communication between your team and you that needs to be open but communication between the team as a whole. Open up new communication channels and encourage communication throughout the workforce.

Problem 5: Resolving Conflict Situations

Most people don’t enjoy conflict situations but as a manager, they can be part of the job. Not everything is going to be smooth sailing and there will be times where you have to make difficult decisions and deal with delicate situations.

Dealing with conflict is just a part of the job, but if you can do it well, then it will help limit future manager problems. Always stay calm and approach things in a logical manner, and you’ll be able to make clearer decisions in these pressure situations.

How to Overcome

This is another manager problem where it pays to be proactive. If you can spot potential tensions before they arise, or at least early on, then they’re much easier to solve.

Work with your team to get feedback and make people feel like they have a say. Be open with your communication and accountable for the things you say – this will give you a strong position if the conflict does escalate.

Problem 6: Hiring Employees

It’s hard to underestimate the importance of getting hiring decisions right. It costs a lot of money to hire someone and get them trained up so it’s a decision you need to put care into.

When you’re fighting high turnover rates and are short-staffed, it’s tempting just to hire the first person that walks in the door, but this isn’t always the right approach. You need to be planning ahead and making sure you find the right person, so often it pays to wait for someone who’s the right fit.

How to Overcome

Most businesses will have an HR team of some kind to help you with this process. You may know exactly what you’re looking for, but an HR professional can help you find them.

Work closely with your HR and develop a clear picture of what you want to achieve. It’s best to come up with a long-term recruitment plan you can work towards. Of course, short-term pressures might force your hand, but try to be strategic and invest in people you believe will stay and grow with the business.

Problem 7: Time Management

Sometimes it feels like you walked into the office an hour ago and yet it’s already late afternoon. Managers are responsible for a lot of day-to-day tasks and this can put a huge strain on your time.

This is particularly true when it comes to details like scheduling. You’ve really got to work on your processes and manage your time to make sure you’re focusing on the most important tasks.

If you’re not getting the most out of your time, then the job is going to feel that little bit more stressful, and you’re going to struggle to get everything done.

How to Overcome

Automation is your best friend when it comes to time management. Those little tasks that seem to take up so much time (scheduling, payroll, etc.) can be streamlined, freeing you up to tackle the most important parts of the job.

The best way to understand your time management is to start tracking what you do each day. You may find you’re not getting as much out of your time as you thought, in which case, you can come up with strategies to help you get more done.

Problem 8: Toxic Workplace Culture

Overcoming a toxic workplace culture can be a very challenging manager problem. A bad culture seeps into everything that happens within the company, lowering morale.

As a manager, you can only take responsibility for the parts of the business you are in charge of. You might not be able to change the entire company, but you can put strategies in place to improve the morale and culture within your team.

You can often sense a toxic workplace the moment you work in. If you do sense this, then it’s time to take action.

How to Overcome

Getting to the root of the problems requires good communication. Work with your employees to find out what’s behind the poor workplace culture and come up with ideas to make their lives better.

Business culture is something that’s molded over many years, but you can take immediate steps towards improving it. Understand the problems and come up with ideas to solve them.

Problem 9: Letting an Employee Go

This manager problem has been the theme of many TV episodes, and it’s easy to see why – it’s just not a pleasant situation. Sometimes there’s no choice but to let an employee go, and as a manager, you need to know how to handle this situation.

Good offboarding is important for the business and the employee, and it can help to ensure the relationship ends on reasonable terms.

How to Overcome

The best way to overcome the difficulties of letting an employee go is to be prepared. Work on your offboarding processes so you know exactly what you need to do.

This will make sure you take care of the legal requirements while keeping the conversation personable. Remember that an amicable situation is in everyone’s best interests, so stay calm and keep it human.

Problem 10: Effective Employee Training

Employee training is often a tricky subject. Many businesses want skilled employees, but they’re not always so keen to invest in training.

If this is holding back your department then you may want to look at new ways you can effectively train your employees. Getting this right can be a huge shot in the arm for your team, making it more efficient and increasing output.

How to Overcome

You need to convince stakeholders that employee training is a worthwhile investment. As with any investment, you’ve got to be able to show there’s a return.

Employee training can result in huge improvements in output, so put the figures on the table and show why it’s necessary. Once you’ve got approval, then you can start to put systems in place to ensure employees get consistent, high-quality training


Sam Molony

Sam Molony is the marketing strategist at ZoomShift, the leading employee scheduling software. When Sam's not publishing or promoting new content you can find him playing his guitar or baking.

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