The primary challenge leaders face essentially comes down to a problem-solving role. The responsibility of virtually every leader should be to steer clear of, eliminate or totally avert problems. Whenever unavoidable problems do come up, it’s a leader’s responsibility to convert those problems into opportunities. Regrettably many leaders these days are totally incompetent with regard to solving some of the least difficult problems. This article focuses on the 3 critical challenges leaders face that are most important in helping them deal with and solve the many different types of problems they will face as a leader.
The first challenge leaders face is focusing on people.
People matter most, and that includes you. In one sense, you are the person that should always matter most. You must nurture and develop yourself as much as you nurture and develop others. To be a good leader you must first be on top of your own game.
A big challenge facing leaders is understanding that after yourself, others matter most and it is important that you always demonstrate that. You make others feel like they matter when you do several things consistently. Always recognize and celebrate their efforts and progress, even when the outcomes fall short. People often feel frustrated when they are constantly pressed for more without ever receiving recognition for the efforts and progress they have already accomplished.
Good leaders recognize and show appreciation for good talent. One way to do this is by encouraging a person to highlight the skills and qualities they find useful in accomplishing their goals. Don’t always just focus on the end result. Talk about what they do to succeed and what makes them uniquely different. This will show you’re appreciation for them and encourage others. More importantly, honor great character qualities, not just their performance alone.
Encouraging the discouraged can be another challenge leaders face but it is important. Sometimes people aren’t on top of their game for various reasons and become stagnant or discouraged. When this happens you have to give them a push or even throw them a rope. You constantly have to be developing your people, not just their skills. You have to constantly be thinking of the total person.
The second is articulating the objective.
Another challenge leaders face is they have to be able to make what’s obvious to you obvious to everyone else. Always make clear even what should be obvious. This is done through repetition. Things that get repeated get remembered, and things that get remembered get done. So, say it again and again.
The same is true when asking about something. Make it a habit to ask more than once. Things that get asked about repeatedly also get done. Once the goal is accomplished, celebrate it and give recognition. It’s human nature to love to be recognized; and, a sincere compliment can go a long way toward motivating anyone. People remember things that get done repeatedly and when accomplished get celebrated and recognized. Otherwise, things become irrelevant.
The third critical challenge leaders face is to narrow their daily focus.
In narrowing your daily focus, you should recognize the importance of your surroundings. Unnecessary distractions will rob you of time quicker than anything. Your time is one of the most important tools this life brings, so don’t let it go to waste by allowing things like the cellphone, emails, and others to distract you from accomplishing your goals.
Don’t get stressed out! Remember the old saying “you eat an elephant one bite at a time”. It is important not to take on more than you can accomplish effectively. The quality of your work should always trump quantity.
In the normal course of life, the challenges leaders will face will always exceed their resources. You will have to deal with many different problems, processes, and procedures that won’t always fit neatly into your day. In the middle of all the chaos, you must choose your daily priorities and tackle them in their prioritized order, which should always include doing something each day that moves you closer to your objective. Narrowly focusing on your daily objectives will help to assure that you accomplish them. Always set and achieve daily goals.
Ultimately people are the key to the success of any organization, team, or business. They come in all kinds of stripes from all kinds of backgrounds. When managing people, sometimes you have to coddle them, sometimes prod them, and sometimes just give them some space. In the end, it all comes down to leaders who can communicate objectives clearly, keep people focused on specific daily goals and then recognize and celebrate their accomplishments.