Managing staff is one of the biggest challenges when working in or running a business. As a manager, especially a new manager, managing staff can be the most rewarding aspect in running a team. However it can also be the most draining, especially if things go wrong.

In today’s world there are things you can say, and there are things you cannot say, especially as a leader. Combine this with different personalities, age brackets and values, and it could be a disaster in the making if you don’t have the knowledge, skills or patience to manage staff.

It surprises me how many companies we come across that struggle with managing staff. It can be very challenging for a manager, especially if they are suddenly thrown in the deep end, to manage staff or large teams.

What about the office manager or admin person who is expected to know everything about today’s legislation. This includes Fair Work obligations, NES (National Employment Standards), and award interpretation of correct pay rates. And that’s just the beginning. What about knowing the correct process for termination?

Below are some tips that we recommend to help you manage your staff, as well as protecting and growing your business:

Managing People

As a manager you need to understand what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in today’s workplace. This includes the way you speak and how you manage your staff on a day-to-day basis. Your role is to empower your team to get the best out of them based on their capabilities, while managing their progress. You should also aim to increase their knowledge and output within their role.

There will also be a percentage of staff that have all the skills and ability to perform. As a result, it is important not to play the political game. You need to ensure your leadership qualities come out, so your team supports you in achieving your business goals.


Leadership is about having a great strategy to motivate your staff. As a leader, you need to know how to coach, manage and mentor your staff. If you are successful, your staff will be happy to follow your leadership and achieve business goals. Good leadership delivers on individual results, as well as contributing to the team, to improve the company’s bottom line.

As a leader you need to be great at managing your time, planning, and organisation. Every aspect of your leadership role should demonstrate these qualities and your capabilities. You need to earn your leadership role and continually demonstrate your qualities as a leader.


Understanding today’s legislation can be a nightmare for many managers, especially if they don’t know or understand what is required when managing an employee. A manager needs to be fair and reasonable while offering the right employee conditions and opportunity to perform.

Under the Fair Work Australia guidelines, there is a lot involved in maintaining compliance with modern award interpretation, pay rates, employee conditions, and rights. This begins with recruitment, to induction, to policies in the workplace, right through to performance management and termination.

One of the biggest challenges in managing staff is ensuring you have followed the correct process. This includes good record keeping for every employee.

Performance Management

Now this is where it all goes wrong if processes are not followed correctly. Having discussions with staff about their good performance is easy. But having the tough conversations, where formal warnings are given and performance improvement plans are put in place, can be difficult.

If not followed correctly, this is where things can go wrong. You need to be 100% confident in implementing formal warnings or performance improvement plans. As a result, it is important you have the appropriate knowledge regarding employee rights.

If you need to have a hard conversation with an employee who has a stronger personality than you, they may bait you into saying the wrong thing or make you lose your temper. At these times, an employee can rebut with unfair dismissal or adverse action claims. This can cost a business dearly, especially if lawyers get involved. It is always important to follow the appropriate processes at these times and remain level-headed.

Conducting Meetings and Training Sessions

It is important to realise that your staff are judging you on your performance as much as you judge them on theirs. One-on-one conversations, performance appraisals, team meetings and company training sessions need to be well planned and organised.

As a manager you need to perform at your best and ensure your leadership qualities are evident. Your employees can hold it against you if you let your guard down, or say the wrong thing during a meeting, or one-on-one.

You must always be professional and follow your company’s mission, vision and values as they are key to keeping your business interests aligned. You must also know how to deal with and manage your staff’s different personalities as well as their core values. If you shy away, then you may lose leadership power.

So, what holds you back from doing what you need to do? Is it lack of knowledge or knowhow, or are you avoiding the emotion that goes with it?

Dealing with the emotions of managing staff and everything that goes with it can be challenging and frustrating. If you are unsure, then seek professional help. Let someone train you, especially within your business. This will result in higher returns on employee engagement.

If you need help or want further information on staff management, then let Key Business Advisors help. Let us help you take the worries away by supporting you and your company for when it comes to managing challenging staff.

At Key Business Advisors we are very passionate about taking businesses from good to great. We can help you with Business Strategy, Sales Training and Customer Service and all HR aspects of managing people to help you grow. We are here to help and assist you to achieve your business and personal goals.

If you would like help or want to know more about our services, please contact us at Key Business Advisors on 1300 4 ADVICE


About The Author

Colin Wilson

Director and founder, Colin Wilson drives Key Business Advisors with determination, passion, and motivation.

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