Helping Employees Identify Personal & Organizational Challenges

Instructor: Sudha Aravindan

Sudha is currently an Information Technology Specialist and a EdD student at the University of Delaware.

Everyone has or will face organizational and personal challenges at work. In this lesson for coaches and mentors of emerging leaders, you will learn how a coach can help identify challenges as an opportunity for personal and professional growth.

Personal Challenges

Lisa almost walked out of the meeting with her supervisor today! Her new boss was totally unreasonable, extremely critical, and a micro-manager. Lisa was accustomed to setting her own goals and schedules, and she believed she was managing her work quite well. Lisa is going through a _personal challenge, and she needs to find ways to channel the negativity into positive efforts.

A personal challenge is a task or a situation that tests a person's skills and abilities in an unpleasant situation. Many times, personal challenges can cause the employee to be discouraged and unmotivated, and subsequently their work suffers. The more productive approach is to learn to use these challenges for personal growth. Personal challenges are not dependent on changes in the organization.

Mentors During Personal Challenges

In order to be productive and maintain personal health and well being, employees must identify and learn how to overcome personal challenges. Coaches or mentors in the workplace can help mediate and monitor these issues.

Personal Issues

Sometimes employees go through personal issues, like in the example with Lisa. Sometimes, they happen when employees feel they are not understood by supervisors or co-workers, and this can impact productivity. A coach or mentor can help the employee analyze and identify the specific nature of the problem and help approach the issue with an open mind in order to see things objectively from the other person's perspective.

Relationships in the Workplace

Jane usually has a very friendly relationship with most of her coworkers. Recently, Kevin, a new employee, joined her team and his personality and approach to work were challenging for Jane to understand. She was from a small town, and the big city mentality of Kevin left her feeling unnerved and less confident in herself.

Jane discussed this with her coach who suggested that she attend diversity training sessions to help her understand that people can be very different. She needs to learn to work with diverse people in order to promote a cordial and satisfactory work environment.

Time Management

Every employee needs to learn time management skills, including how to prioritize tasks. Lisa's supervisor pointed out that, even though she all of her work was solid, she did not take the time to understand and prioritize it. As a result, some critical deadlines were missed. Also, she had a tendency to take on more work than she could handle.

Following discussion with her mentor, Lisa learned how to keep a to-do list and prioritize tasks so that no critical deadlines are missed. She also learned the importance of discussing her workload with her coworkers and supervisors.

Workplace challenges can make employees frustrated and unproductive
Workplace Challenges

Organizational Challenges

Tim's department was being restructured, and he found himself learning new skills as he started work as a project leader in the accounting department. His new department had also recently acquired new software, and he will have to learn it. Tim is feeling stressed out with all of these organizational challenges.

An organizational challenge is a challenge that an employee faces due to changes in the organizational structure, implementation of technology, or even weak leadership issues with leaders and managers.

Mentors During Organizational Challenges

Every employee needs to identify organizational challenges and differentiate them from personal challenges. Sometimes this may require help from upper management or the HR department.

Weak Leadership

Jill was upset, unhappy, and therefore, unproductive; her teammate was constantly taking credit for her work. She brought this to the attention of her supervisor, Todd, but it didn't help because he had not set standards and norms for ethical behavior in the workplace. Jill discussed this with her mentor who suggested setting up a meeting with Todd to discuss ways in which her supervisor would be able to identify and recognize Jill's work.

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