Challenges to Overcome in Leadership Roles
Leadership is a challenging but rewarding role. One that requires a combination of skills, knowledge, positive behaviours, experience and a rich network. However, even the most experienced leaders face adversity. Dealing with uncertainty and change come with the job, they demand critical thinking, sound decision making and good people skills.
In a recent interview Bruce Bochy, Manager of the Texas Rangers baseball team was asked about the pressure that comes with getting his team to the postseason play-offs this year. His reply was short and sweet: “The pressure is a privilege”. In this simple statement he reminds us that it is a privilege to lead a group of talented and committed people, to put on a show for the fans, to be part of something bigger than himself.
When adversity rises, good leaders step up to the plate. Here are some of the most common challenges that leaders face, and how to overcome them:
- Imposter syndrome. This is the feeling that you don’t belong in your leadership role, or that you’re not good enough. It can be a major obstacle to success, and it’s important to remember that everyone feels this way at some point….it reflects your humility, a good trait in any leader. Shift your focus onto your strengths and accomplishments. Remember that you were chosen for this role because you have the skills and experience to succeed.
- Communication challenges. Effective communication is essential for any leader. You need to be able to communicate your vision to your team and listen to their feedback. If you’re struggling with communication, there are resources available to help you improve. You can take communication courses, or you can work with a coach or mentor. Or just try different things to figure out what works best with the people around you.
- Decision-making challenges. Leaders are faced with decisions to make every day, often difficult decisions. Sometimes there is no right or wrong answer, and you need to be able to make decisions that are in the best interests of your team and your organisation. If you’re struggling with decision-making here are a few tips. Firstly, make sure that you are gathering all of the information you need. Secondly, define the different options clearly, then look at the pros and cons of each option. Finally, think about the things that are important to the decision you make and score each option. Beyond that, learn from every decision you make. Reflect on what went well and less well, add this to the experiences you create.
- Conflict resolution challenges. Conflict is inevitable in any workplace. As a leader, you need to be able to resolve conflict in a constructive way. This means listening to both sides of the story, and finding a solution that everyone can agree on. That does not necessarily mean we accept something less optimal, or lose sight of the goals. If you’re struggling with conflict resolution, there are a few things you can do. Try to understand where the conflict has come from. Then, help the parties involved to communicate effectively. Finally, try to proactively facilitate a resolution that is fair to everyone involved.
- Managing stress. Leadership can be stressful. You have a lot of responsibility, and you’re constantly under pressure to perform. If you try to ignore the impact of stress without taking steps to manage it, this can lead to burnout. As a leader you are also a role model. Others may learn a lot from seeing you deal with the pressure. There are a few things you can do to manage stress. First, make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly. Second, find ways to relax and de-stress. This could include reading, listening to music, or spending time with loved ones. Finally, learn to say no. Don’t take on more than you can handle.
These are just a few of the challenges that leaders face. However, by being aware of these challenges and taking steps to overcome them, you can be a successful leader.
Here are some additional tips for overcoming challenges in leadership roles:
- Be open to feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from your team, your manager, a mentor or other trusted advisers. Feedback can help you to identify your strengths and opportunities for development, and to make improvements.
- Be willing to learn. The world of leadership is constantly changing, so you must be willing to learn new things and adapt to change.
- Be resilient. There will be times when you face setbacks. Don’t let these setbacks discourage you. Keep moving forward and learn from your mistakes.
Leadership is a challenging but rewarding role. It is by overcoming the challenges that come with leadership, that you can make a positive impact on your team, your organisation, and the world.