This article is contributed by Chad Faith.
Every manager has, at one point or another, experienced a great deal of frustration when his employee’s performance was significantly poorer than expected. Needless to say in every business involving manager-employee interactions, conflicts generated by the following issues are bound to develop:
- Improperly communicated details of the task or complete absence of communications
- The lack of necessary resources
- No feedback on performance
- Low motivation of the employee
- Excessive micromanagement
- Last minute modifications in the specifications of a project
In these cases and others like them, the fault often resides with both the employee and the manager who is in charge of the project. If management fails to encourage the staff to discuss issues openly in order to find solutions to any problem(s) at hand. Without involvement and cooperation in the achievement of the goal, positive results should not be expected. In this article, I offer suggestions that have yielded effective outcomes in resolving work related conflicts. These can enhance the productivity levels both in small businesses and in large corporations.
Start by clarifying your agreement with the employees
You should create a context in which both you and every member of the staff knows exactly what is expected of him or her. Such rules should be on paper in a comprehensive document. To put it simply, all involved need to mutually agree on the standards, responsibilities and the final results to be achieved. Otherwise, all you will manage to do is create a work climate flooded in ambiguity where everybody blames someone else for the failure.
Opening proper communication channels
Photo credit: woodleywonderworks
Just giving orders in a louder voice will not remove ambiguity and confusion. It is critically important to know exactly how to address each member of the staff individually. While your employees do not speak a foreign language, a manager must always be certain that his requests are not only heard, but also understood. In addition to that, the aforementioned agreement must stipulate that any type of modification to the original specifications of the project will not be implemented until both parties have given their consent. We’ll discuss more about the project changes in a bit.
Determining what each side is responsible for
To put it simply, the management of a project is the party tasked with providing the work resources necessary, while the staff’s job is to ensure that the resources that they have been awarded are utilized correctly in order to achieve the goal of the project. In other words, the manager and the employee are in a symbiotic relationship, because the mission cannot ultimately be completed by either of them working separately. As long as they are equally aware of the role they need to play, the work can roll forward uninterrupted.
Regular check-ins can be different from excessive micromanagement
The manager has the right to inquire about the status of a certain project at any time regarding the progress. A much better solution is to develop a system in which the employee informs you about these details personally. What I mean is that if the rules of engagement involve a periodic reporting of the progress, you will be able to give that employee the space and time he needs to complete his assignment without constantly interrupting him and requesting feedback. At the same time, the employee should make a habit of presenting a situation report even though the work is on track. S/he should also announce potential delays determined by unexpected circumstances in a timely manner.
Earning and awarding trust
When the manager earns the employee’s trust – the employee knows that he can signal potential issues without fear of negative repercussions and that his concerns will be addressed effectively – then many office crises can be avoided. Vice versa, an employee who has earned the trust of his project leader is less likely to be monitored and micromanaged, therefore he can work in a more productive manner. It is easy to understand why mutual trust is so important for productivity, irrespective of the business niche. Although it may not be easy to earn, putting an effort towards creating a relationship based on confidence is definitely worthwhile.
Don’t overburden your employees
Even if your company is going through a rough period, the last thing you want to do is keep your employees after-hours, call them in on weekends and increase their workload. Sure, you will finish most of your tasks on time, but often at the cost of quality. In order to avoid these situations, one solution is to consider outsourcing some of your work.
Outsourcing the distribution and fulfillment services
These services handle details such as storing, packaging, managing inventory, processing payments, communicating with clients and taking care of certain internal tasks. Some of them even have light assembly services for finished products that require parts from multiple centers. Calling on the help of fulfillment services during very busy periods (Christmas, Easter, etc) will ensure both your clients and employees are happy.
Author Bio: Chad Faith is a writer for fulfilmentcenters.com, a leading fulfillment service in the US.