What are the toughest challenges for a manager?

What are the toughest challenges for a manager?

Becoming a manager is a big step in a person’s career. It signals a major shift in your responsibilities, and probably your pay. However, it also comes with more responsibilities and a set of challenges that you may never have faced before. You are now expected to manage your team and take responsibility for their mistakes and their problems. These are some of the toughest challenges that a manager faces:

Human resources (HR) issues

Probably the most obvious and emotionally testing challenges for a manager are the HR ones. You may now have to hire, fire, promote and pay your staff. Keeping everyone happy whilst equipping your team with the best people for the job can seem like an impossible task.

This is especially true if your team has big personalities that clash or people that break the rules. A good human resources team can make this easier, but there is still a lot of responsibility to bear.

Motivating your staff

Henry Ford recommended that managers ‘hire the right person then get out of their way.’ A truly successful leader allows their staff to operate in their sphere of expertise without meddling. However, they will also give them support, encouragement and the training they need, rather than ignoring them.

Motivating employees means setting goals and expectations for them to meet and exceed. Communication with staff should be done in a regular and consistent way to ensure that grievances are heard and issues are dealt with.

Creating a positive work environment

It can be a challenge to create a work environment that fits the needs of everyone. People have lives, children, families, illnesses, tragedies and celebrations. These things do not disappear or lose importance when they work, so fitting them around a job is essential to avoid resentment growing.

Then again, you don’t want somebody exploiting the system and skipping out on work whenever the opportunity presents itself. Balance here is the key.

Time management

A manager has to face a lot of demands on their time. Multi-tasking has been proved ineffective so dealing with this can be stressful.

Indeed, becoming a manager involves a mind-shift from being driven to accomplishing your own tasks to empowering others to complete theirs.

A few tricks are useful, such as booking fake meetings in your diary to finally get some peace and quiet!


Being a manager means that you are responsible for your team. This means that you have pressure coming from above and must shield your team from it. Dealing with performance, targets and increased responsibility can take its toll.


Managers need to act like both a leader and a boss. This means that you are in charge rather than a co-worker and need to step away from the personal conflicts and act in a measured and authoritative way. This doesn’t mean you should be out of touch with your staff, just act in a slightly different way.

Feeling out of depth

All of these pressures can feel demoralising and overwhelming. If you start to feel out of depth, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You will still probably have a manager to support you so make the most of them.

Make the most of the training and networking opportunities available to you. Finding a mentor who has been in your position, enjoyed success and overcome difficulties can be a career-defining benefit.

Have the ambition to become a manager? Study a course in Management & Leadership at CU Coventry, CU Scarborough or CU London to gain the professional skills and broad understanding of business issues required.