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Solutions to Common Management Problems

Solutions to Common Management Problems

Solutions to Common Management Problems

It is an interesting fact that, irrespective of the product or service of the organisation in which they work, managers often face the same problems.

The reason for the convergence is, that all managers must manage human beings; and human beings and systems don't always behave the way you want them to. That is the problem.

The most common management problems are as follows:

  1. Poor communication between various sections.
  2. Constant change (moving the goal posts).
  3. Too much to do; not enough time to do it.
  4. Difficult people who don't do what you want them to do.
  5. Poor morale. (Which leads to poor motivation and therefore poor productivity).

Let us talk about the solutions to these common problems:

1. Poor communication between various sections.

The solution to poor communication is good communication.

This can be achieved by ensuring that all messages are written or spoken using very specific words and phrases that have only one possible meaning.

I call this sort of language, TIGHT language. Most people use LOOSE language.

Loose language is language that admits multiple possible interpretations. Loose language is ambiguous language. It is vague and open to MIS-understandings.

An example of loose language is the phrase, 'as soon as possible' or A.S.A.P.

Communication should be expressed using tight language.

That means all messages should be expressed in tightly defined, specific, numerical and non-ambiguous terms. All goals are clearly defined; if possible with specific numerical targets and objective measurements of performance.

If you want to avoid problems stemming from ambiguous messages, then instruct your team in the art of tight communication.

2 Constant change (moving the goal posts).

Change is an invariable fixture of the universe.

Every day the stock market changes, the political economy is rocked by change; and people's moods change like the weather.

What should not change is the GOAL. Your goals should be stable over time. The biggest error managers make is to keep changing the goal.

Change the plan by all means. Change the plan every day, but keep goal stable.

On a certain level, we know change is inevitable. But the goal must remain stable over time.

In order to be clear on the goal, spend as much time as is necessary, figuring out three things:

  • What is the goal?
  • Why do you want it?
  • How should it be best communicated to all those who need to know. (See above).

3. Too much to do; not enough time to do it.

Most people have too much to do and not enough time in which to do it.

The main reason why they have too much to do, is that they are doing too many things.

They are doing too many things that do not relate to the achievement of the goal and they are doing too many things that are distractions from their main purpose.

Therefore, they don't have enough time to do things that DO relate to the achievement of their major purpose. Tasks that do NOT relate to the goal are called distractions.

We live in a world that is full of distractions. The answer to distractions is GOAL FOCUS. Keep your goal clean and clear in your mind and do only those things that relate to your goal.

You never have time to do it all. So, don't even try.

Do ONLY those things that aid you in the pursuit of your purpose. Skip the trash.

4. Difficult people who don't do what you want them to do.

Many people don't do what you want them to do because of failures in the preceding steps.

  • The goal is not clear.
  • The communication has been poor.

So, the staff don't really know what is expected, nor do they know the hierarchy of importance. So, they come to work and do whatever springs-up in front of them.

They don't act strategically because nobody told them the strategy. They don't know the goal, or the plan, and so they make it up as they go along. That makes them appear to be difficult people.

Most people are not difficult to work with, provided they know:

  • What the goal is.
  • Why the goal will be a benefit to them, if it were achieved.
  • The plan by which the goal and the associated benefits, will be achieved.
  • Their place in the plan (how their role fits into the big picture.)
  • What is the top priority actions to be done today?

Let us operate under the assumption that the clear majority of workers are good workers; provided they are in a context that tends to foster good work. The context is the list above. These issues are management issues.

5. Poor morale. (Which leads to poor motivation and therefore lower productivity).

Poor morale is a common problem. The way to provide good morale is to apply the list above, PLUS the following points.

Managers must never denigrate or degrade a colleague with derogatory comments or destructive criticism. Instead the manager needs to get into the habit of issuing a steady stream of kind words, compliments, appreciation and praise.

If the person does something wrong then the omission or error needs to be dealt with, in an objective, rational and non-emotional way. Managers need to deal with conflict situations according to proper principles.

Creating and sustaining a positive mental attitude is achieved by a process of conversation control. Managers need to learn conversation control.

They need to avoid saying things that detract from morale and avoid making derogatory comments and opinions, and destructive criticism.

They need to use conversation control to increase the chances of an optimistic future, with a goal-orientated, cooperative team spirit. This entails the use of proper praise, kind words and constructive criticism.

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