6 Workplace Challenges and How to Overcome Them

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 3, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

You can finish all of your tasks on time, get along great with your colleagues, and impress your managers, but unanticipated challenges can still arise in your professional life. They may be minor issues that you can handle quickly, or they may be more significant and require an extensive resolution plan. Understanding the various challenges at work and how to manage them can help you resolve these problems during your career. In this article, we discuss some common workplace challenges and explain how to overcome them.

What are some common workplace challenges?

The following are some common workplace challenges you may face and how you can deal with them:

1. Lack of communication

Healthy communication is essential at all levels and aspects of the workplace, and a lack of communication is a common workplace problem. It can also make fixing other challenges more difficult. If you witness communication issues in your workplace, it's vital to create a safe space for honest discussion, feedback, and an exchange of opinions. Encouraging regular meetings, allowing colleagues to be honest, and providing a time and place to express concerns, thoughts, and ideas positively are crucial to correcting a lack of communication.

Related: How to Manage Issues in the Workplace (With Examples)

2. Performance issues

A decrease in performance is an issue that managers often see in their teams. If your team members don't perform well, it can impact your performance and targets as well. Performance issues in your team may also influence the company's financials and bottom line. It's important to quickly determine the reason for any performance issues while not damaging any relationships with team members.

Many times, performance issues may result from improper communication and expectation-setting. You can take the time to communicate the company's targets and clearly outline the results you're expecting from each of your team members. If you still notice that performance isn't improving, you can handle the issue by providing regular feedback and support. It's crucial to help colleagues and team members identify problems early on to prevent them from becoming more significant challenges in the future.

3. Lack of employee recognition

It can be uplifting and motivating for employees when their manager appreciates their hard work. One challenge a workplace can have is a lack of recognition for an employee's excellent work. The leadership team can attempt to recognize their team members and praise them for their excellent work. There are many positive forms of recognition a manager can say to an employee. Public appreciation and acknowledgment or performance-based incentives can help motivate the entire team and ensure employees work efficiently.

4. Lack of transparency in leadership

Transparency is essential to the success of any business. Leaders who aren't transparent with their employees about changes or problems in the company can create a sense of uncertainty and negatively impact the workplace culture. Transparency requires honesty, openness, and leaders to be forthcoming about their decisions and challenges. Transparent leaders can make you more trustworthy and approachable, which can also improve the team's performance. It can also help you increase accountability for your actions and decisions towards your team.

To create a work environment with greater transparency, you can start with regular discussions during your meetings to address any significant changes or challenges in the workplace. Similarly, you can involve relevant stakeholders and team members in the decision-making process. Being transparent also includes being fair and objective in supporting all team members and applying company policies uniformly.

Related: What Is an Authentic Leader? Definition and Characteristics

5. Motivation and engagement levels

When working as a leader, you might have difficulty keeping team members motivated and engaged in their tasks. Team members can have bad days, resulting in lower productivity or poor performance. They may also experience burnout or exhaustion after working on a high-pressure project or task.

Helping your team re-engage with their work may require making changes in the workplace policies, culture, and processes. Providing employee incentives can help improve motivation and innovation. You can also redesign your leave policy to accommodate sabbaticals or short breaks. Simply listening to team members, understanding their grievances, and working with them to find solutions can help boost the team's motivation and engagement.

6. Conflict management

Conflicts and disputes may arise between team members with divergent perspectives and viewpoints. Some degree of disagreement and difference of opinion can help improve innovation and include diverse views in decision-making. But, when left unchecked, conflict can also negatively impact morale and productivity. In extreme cases, team members might also leave the company due to issues with their colleagues or immediate supervisors. Managers usually ensure that all conflicts between employees reach a resolution and team members don't work against each other.

If a conflict occurs between your team members, it's essential to understand the entire context before taking action. This helps ensure a fair resolution and that you do not come across as biased. It's also essential to identify these conflicts before they start affecting the professional relationship between team members. One method to navigate this conflict is to conduct regular meetings and discussions to exchange feedback and provide each other with constructive suggestions for improvement.

Related: What Conflict Resolution Skills Are Important for Workplace Success?

Overcoming challenges in the workplace

Here are some more tips you can use while resolving workplace challenges:

Stay calm

It's important to remain calm during a conflict, especially if you feel strongly about certain issues or topics. Keeping your emotions clear and staying professional to avoid adverse reactions when making a decision can be essential. You can start by considering the available information and give yourself time to calm down before reaching a conclusion or taking any decision. Gather more information, get context, and try to understand the reason behind changes or decisions before reacting.

This is particularly important when you're receiving unpleasant news, like a poor performance review or demotion. If you disagree with the news, be respectful while expressing your dissent. Talk politely without raising your voice, which can negatively impact your professional relationships.

Introspect and analyze

Once the moment of conflict or challenge is over, take some time to understand what went wrong and assess your role in the process. You might have unrealistic expectations from your team members, or maybe your leadership style and methods require more clarity and transparency. If so, now it's time to assess the situation and make any notes on where you might've gone wrong. You can use these mistakes as an opportunity to change your perspective and focus on the future.

Once you identify the core reason for a problem, start thinking about possible solutions and how you can implement them. For instance, if how you communicate with the team requires improvement, think about new ways, methods, and platforms that can help you interact and collaborate. During this process, collect feedback and suggestions from different team members to understand new perspectives.

Overlook the transgression

It's easy to lose perspective and focus exclusively on the problem instead of the solution. So, be mindful of planning, overlooking the issue, and moving toward a peaceful solution. It's important to know when you need help regarding skills training or support in other forms of resources. Similarly, admitting your mistakes, accepting critical feedback, asking for support and assistance, and analyzing a problem from different perspectives are all vital. If you're in a leadership or management role, delegate tasks to your team members and ensure that you address any challenges timely and effectively.

Related: 11 Management Challenges (And How to Overcome Them)

Break the challenge down into smaller pieces

When you encounter a significant challenge in the workplace that requires a complete overhaul or redesign of existing processes, it might be best to approach it step-by-step. You can first break down the problem into smaller and more manageable pieces to find the best solution for them. Implementing a solution for each of the smaller problems can put you in a better position than handling the situation all at once. Doing this can also help you focus on the solutions when you find them.

Stay positive

A positive mindset can easily help you deal with rejection, criticism, and conflict. It's essential for you to have clear expectations and goals, be honest with yourself, and invest in your improvement and growth. Set achievable and realistic targets for yourself, don't expect to achieve in the first attempt, and always be willing to admit your mistakes. Practise mindfulness and meditative techniques to improve your ability to focus and have better clarity of thought. Also, set a healthy work routine that allows you to focus on your health and personal life.

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