If “leader” were a job, “overcoming challenges” would be one of the top requirements on the application. In fact, the ability to manage and overcome challenges often is listed in job descriptions for positions of all levels, as a key requirement of succeeding in the workplace. Managing challenge is especially important for any kind of leadership role, because as authority figures in their organizations, leaders are expected to remain calm under pressure and guide their employees through stressful situations.
There is no universal code for the challenges leaders face and how to respond to them, but some of the main challenges to leadership are experienced by leaders all around the world and there tends to be a line-of-best-fit for how to manage them. Here are some of the greatest challenges leaders face and how effective leaders respond to them.
- Challenges to authority
Whether you’re a CEO of a department manager, there will almost always be someone who thinks they can do your job better than you, and people who call your authority into question. You have to be prepared to defend yourself as a leader and prove your managerial effectiveness. According to the Center for Creative Leadership, there are four key things that leaders can do to develop managerial effectiveness (or the skills leaders need to succeed at work). These include setting goals, delegating more, developing the tasks that maximize your value, and having a clear understanding of your role.
- Conflict management
When corporate conflicts arise, employees will look to the person in charge to manage the situations. When any kind of internal or external conflict surfaces that affects workplace operations, then an effective leader will need to know how to resolve the conflict rather than letting it fester. To resolve conflict, a leader must be able to analyze the situation, know the rules and boundaries of their position, and be able to come up with a solution that benefits the greater good of the company while respecting individual concerns.
- Adapting to change
Change is virtually inevitable in any company, regardless of its size or age. Whether you work for a burgeoning startup or an established corporate giant, all businesses go through periods of change- sometimes it’s positive growth, while other times the company will have to adapt to difficult transitions such as losing money or merging with another company. An effective leader is able to guide their team through times of change, meaning mitigating consequences, overcoming resistance, and helping to steer employee reactions.
- Managing and inspiring others
Lasly, an effective leader is someone others look up to. You want to be a source of guidance and inspiration to your employees, so you should always be conscious of your actions and ensure you are setting a positive example. Inspiring your employees will lead to more satisfied employees and greater productivity, in turn.
Many specific challenges will arise along the way for anyone in a leadership position, and they may not necessarily fit the mold of these scenarios, but if you have a general toolbox for responding to crisis, being confident in your abilities, and inspiring those around you, you will find that you capable of responding to whatever comes your way.
Alexander Gladney is the Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at Capital Health, a leader in progressive, quality healthcare services. Get more healthcare and leadership insight by reading Alexander’s blogs, and follow him on Twitter @alexgladney!