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The Greatest Leadership Challenges

Last Thursday I asked this question over in the Leadership Freak Coffee Club, “What are the greatest challenges of Leadership?” Here are a few responses from that lively conversation.

Stop managing when you should be leading.

Beverly replied: One of the greatest leadership challenges is, “Remembering to lead and not manage. (Particularly difficult for the micro managers who always think they can do it better).”

Beverly is aware of what I’ll call the “Bottle Neck of Excellence.” It’s the belief that everything has to be done as good as you can do it. In reality, some things just need to get done. Sometimes good enough is good enough.

Susan adds that we should know …”the difference between microbrew and micromanage. One allows the ingredients to do their own thing once they get started.” I love the metaphor of microbrew. Put the right ingredients together and let them work.

Living up to your reputation and/or other’s expectations

Julia said the greatest leadership challenge is “staying believable. If you create the hype you’ve got to live up to it.”

Reputation building is a real and perhaps uncomfortable component of leading.

The obvious response is don’t create hype, be real. However, in the end this isn’t always realistic. Successful leaders learn how to highlight their strengths and minimize weaknesses. Additionally, you’re competing with smoke blowers, great pretenders, and backstabbers that claim they can do more than they can do. Research shows excelling at office politics works.

In reality, this is an organizational culture issue. Some organizations welcome “realness,” others thrive on hype, image, and façade. If you’re about authenticity, and I hope you are, find an organization that embraces it. You’re in for trouble if you live “real” in a “hype” environment.


In your opinion, what are the greatest leadership challenges?

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