If leadership were easy, we’d probably have a lot more executives and CEOs. Although you could argue that anyone can be a leader, and it’s true that leaders come from all different backgrounds and personality types, not everyone is cut out for a leadership position. Leadership is challenging and anyone who wants to take on a leadership role needs to be willing to step up to the challenge. The leaders of today face unique challenges due to changes in the workforce and technology: “Today, executives also must be able to build strong teams in the face of recruiting and retention challenges, keep up with the latest technology, and demonstrate strong business acumen,” says Dana Manciagli for The Business Journals.
Whether you’re a seasoned executive or a new manager, you will have to be prepared to face the challenges associated with leadership if you are to succeed in your role. Here are some of the challenges leaders face in their day-to-day routines:
As a leader, you will be tasked with many difficult decisions. The ability to make wise decisions in a timely manner is what sets a great leader apart from a mediocre leader. According to CEO and startup founder, Chris Myers, there are three key aspects that one must master to become a more decisive leader. These are: a sense of reflective urgency, the ability to find your data threshold (meaning being able to make a decision without all of the information), and the ability to learn from your mistakes.
Respect needs to be earned through trust, and as Forbes contributor Jeff Boss says, “trust is the basis upon which everything- relationships, performance, results- is built.” Respect is not earned through intimidation and belittlement- exerting too much force will only make your employees fear you. Instead, opt for face-to-face interaction. You need to be able to empathize with your employees, understand and address their concerns, and be open to their input.
Motivating your employees is about encouraging them to perform at their very best, not just to get the job done, but for personal and professional growth. You should want to see your employees succeed and promote their professional development, so communicate your vision of success with them. Everyone’s definition of success is different, so first you must identify what success looks like, and then communicate your strategies to your employees; be sure to communicate the value of adapting to change as well. “Strategy is a constantly moving target, and the only way to hunker down, get comfy and feel secure is to embrace the chaos that we call business,” says Boss. Also, be sure to motivate your team members individually as well, not just as a unit.
It is vital that you stay organized as a leader, not only to maintain your own sanity, but to set a good example for your employees. As an executive, you will be bombarded with data and information, and it’s easy to let yourself become overwhelmed. The key is to extract the most valuable information from the data you’re presented with and translate it into a strategic action plan.
Change, especially in business, is inevitable, but how you respond to it defines your capabilities as a leader. Companies are constantly introducing new business models and technology advances at a rapid rate, so leaders must keep up with industry trends and be able to adapt to change.
Over time, successful leaders learn to manage whatever challenges come their way. No one is an expert at anything right away, and that goes for even the most powerful CEOs. Humans learn by example, so as a leader you should be prepared for challenges, but know that you may make some mistakes along the way- and that’s okay, as long as learn from them and become a better leader in turn.