As organizations continue to diversify, the opportunities for workplace problems intensify. Small business owners and managers typically face one or more of three potential levels of conflict — employee, team or organization-wide issues. Often the underlying causes of these problems are the lack of open, flowing communications or using the wrong organizational structure. Many businesses compound problems by avoiding communicating a clear chain of command path.
Individual employee problems can be personality conflicts, supervisor issues, personal trauma, or company structure oriented. Management must learn the cause of the problem and who or what keeps “fueling the fire.” If there is no clear trigger, the answer could fall back to insufficient or confusing communications. For example, an employee in a decentralized organization may feel they must answer to multiple supervisors if the chain of command is not communicated clearly.
To be high performing, teams must be dedicated to working toward an agreed goal. Should they experience personal disconnect with other team members, the team can become non-functional. These issues often stem from organizational or management communication breakdowns that confuse team and personal common goals. Team leaders must offer constant feedback and foster cohesiveness. When facing team issues, managers must diagnose the problem and take immediate corrective action to avoid more serious performance breakdowns.
Simple employee or team issues can quickly expand to your total organization if you don’t take immediate corrective action. You must avoid this situation at all costs, as it often results in your staff forming two groups, both at odds with each other. Should all your avoidance actions fail, be ready to take much more dramatic corrective measures. You must prevent these problems from negatively changing the corporate culture you have carefully cultivated to make your company and workplace a high performing entity.
Organizational Problem Solving Steps
Many roads can lead to organizational problems at the workplace. Successfully solving these issues, however, usually follows the same plan. First, manage and resolve the current problem right away. For example, two or three employees may have interpersonal conflicts. If you are not part of the problem, you must become the solution. Second, learn the problem’s root causes. Address and correct these issues to avoid a repetition of the problem. This is simple to state, but often more difficult to accomplish. Yet, it is imperative you take these two steps to maintain a high-performing staff.