A leader is at the heart of any successful business who drives people and teams to perform in line with the organisation's goals. However leaders are facing a lot of challenges in delivering better results. With the ever-evolving economy and the competitive industry right now, the challenges that leaders face also change.
Below are questions from leaders or managers of various businesses and the challenges and questions they face. It is necessary to address these issues to promote workplace harmony, effective teamwork, employee engagement and higher productivity among employees.
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Leadership Challenges and How to Deal with Them.
It is very important that as a leader you recognise and deal with stress in the workplace. Most of the time people can deal with temporary heavy work loads, but if the problems go on or if they are not well supported or feel they are not being treated "fairly" then they may become "stressed". This can lead to a decrease in effectiveness and an increase in absenteeism. Make sure you take the time to talk to each of your team about how they are feeling and what you can do to help them. Set a good example by taking breaks and going home at a reasonable time. Make an effort to remain positive but communicate honestly about the challenges as much as you can. Try to involve your team in finding solutions to problems such as not enough resources. Be realistic about what you can expect your team to do and remember to give them some sincere "thanks" for the efforts they are making.
It is common nowadays to find businesses that have people in different locations. The power of technology enables us to work virtually but of course these situations can give rise to various challenges especially that you might be in different time zones, part of different cultures and you can't see them face to face all the time.
It is important that geographically dispersed team members should feel motivated, unified and not isolated from the rest of your employees. To ensure that they stay on the right track when it comes to your company's goals, here are some pointers you can look into:
- Expectation must be precise and realistic. You have to be clear on what your goals are, what you expect from each employee and what their roles can do for the business. Once they understand their part, trust them that they will deliver it.
- Communication should be a priority. Efficient and effective communication is a must. Share contact information and always keep your lines open in case something comes up. If your attention is needed, respond to it right away.
- Conduct team meetings. Set a schedule when you will hold your meeting be it weekly or monthly and stick to that schedule. These meetings should serve to align every one of their roles and responsibilities as team members.
- Give feedback and rewards. Feedback should not happen only when someone does a job inefficiently. It is given when a task is completed. You should also be generous in rewarding your employees with praise or small incentives.
- Watch out for signs of dissatisfaction such as reduced output, abrupt or short reports or emails and reluctance to talk with you over the phone or online. Never hesitate to discuss issues once you feel that the employee's performance is waning.
- Find ways to promote teamwork and bonding. You can set up a team page or a chat room where members can discuss with each other or share ideas. Just make sure you set boundaries and inform everyone that it should not be used for personal purposes or should cause any distraction to their work.
Most of the time the problem is that your employees are not HAPPY!! Happy employees give better customer service. They can't wait to go the extra mile for your cutomers... it adds to their job satisfaction. Now most of the time you can improve the happiness of your people without paying them more or giveing them a bonus. If you really want to improve your customer service then make sure you create a positive and supportive working environment where they feel valued and safe.
Most employees would hold back if they dont feel safe and don't trust the person they are talking to. Being a leader, knowing how your employees feel or think about specific aspects of the business will help you manage them well. To encourage your team to open up with you, try these tips:
- Good communication by making sure your employees feel comfortable talking to you. Start with yourself. Talk to your employees, share with them your challenges or opinions, ask them for their inputs and don't be afraid asking for their advice. This will develop a sense of trust which is necessary when you want them to be honest.
- Encourage by recognising an employee's effort to speak up. When an employee shares his or her feedback, be it positive or negative, acknowledge it and say thanks. This will show that all opinions matter whether they work for or against you or the business.
- Find alternative ways to communicate. Some would hold back talking to you so finding a way for them to reach you and be anonymous is a big step in encouraging these people to share.
- Take time to know your employees. Greet them when you see them with their first names. Ask them from time to time about things not relating to their jobs like their families or how was their weekend. Showing interest beyond their roles in the workplace will make them feel valued as people and not as employees only.
Most of the time, change means going out of your comfort zone and doing things differently than what you used to do. Most employees are not comfortable with that and so you find yourself facing their resistance. There are also built in brain mechanisms that keep us doing things the same old way. That is why it is so hard to change bad habits. It also helps us have "stability", but this can be a problem in an envoronment where constant change is required. It might be an unpleasant situation but this is normal and should be expected. What is important is that how you deal with it so things won't become more difficult for you and your team.
Here are some tips on how to manage it effectively.
- Support the change. Give it your 100% support whether you don't really feel like it is. When you give it only a half-hearted shot, then you will hinder it one way or another and on top of that make it more difficult for your team.
- Be positive because your reaction matters. Plan carefully on how you implement the change and how you will relay this to the people who will be impacted. If you make it sound like the end of the world, then you can expect them to think that it is. Focus on the positive aspects of the change and instill them to your team.
- Talk about it. Tell them as much as you can why the change is necessary and how it can help the business in the future. Encourage you employees to share how they really feel about the change. Ask them for feedback or inputs on how to implement these changes. When your employees feel that their opinions matter, it will help in lessening their resistance.
- Give them your support and don' dismiss their reactions.... give them time. Offer them resources to make them feel secure and prepared when the changes are implemented. You can provide training, tools and timely updates so that they can adapt easily and still be productive. Also involve them in the process so they know that you are behind them all the way.
Everyone always have some form of reservations when something new is presented to them. There are mechanisms built into the brain that leave us more likely to stay with the ideas we already have and to find it difficult to take on evidence that the "new idea" might be better. As a leader who is on charge of managing change, this is a normal occurrence that may not be solved by "logical" argument. You might do better to :
- Listen to what they have to say. Communication is a two-way street and if your employees think you don't even have time to listen to them, how will you expect them to trust in what you have to say.
- Provide them everything they need to know about the change. People see something dangerous or consider it a threat because they are not familiar with it.
- Individuals always search for things to make sense. Allow them to explore the alternative idea and how it compares to the present position.
- Give them time and acknowledge their discomfort.
- Offer your support. Show you understand their sentiments and you are there to help with the transition and welcome any questions from them all throughout the process.
1) to be able listen carefully to all the information to try to understand the perspectives and emotions of all parties
2) To be able to manage your own emotions so you can remain calm and reasonable
3) to be able to use a coaching or conflict resolution approach to enable your team members to learn constructive ways of looking at the issues and build rather than destroy their ability to work well together in the future.
You will also need to know when the problem is beyond resolution and move onto the next logical step after careful and logical consideration.
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