How to Face the Challenges of Leadership
The purpose of leadership is to identify and create the future. If you want to lead, go somewhere and take someone with you.
The challenge of leadership is helping people keep up. You are ahead. If you aren’t ahead you aren’t leading.
10 ways to face the challenges of leadership:
- Embrace dissatisfaction and discontent with optimism. Nothing gets done without optimism – the belief it can get done.
- Define and explain the future in relevant language. Passion ignites when others own the future for themselves.
- Find alignment of purpose between individuals and organizations.
- Constantly explore change with openness and skepticism. “Will this advance the agenda?” Doug Conant.
- Persistently push forward while celebrating past success – balance dissatisfaction with satisfaction. Many never move beyond dissatisfaction.
- Leverage the power of simplicity and clarity. Change can be radical and dramatic but most change is a series of simple steps toward clear destinations. Break things down into bite-size pieces.
- Develop individuals and teams. “The team with the best players wins,” Jack Welch.
- Consult with others, constantly. The ability to suspend judgment takes you further than ruling things out quickly.
- Go with the highest point of confidence even while doubting. Perfect answers are the result of lack of thought.
- Start now. “Strong leaders don’t wait until they have it all together to lead. The more you learn the more you realize how much you need to learn. Act now and get better as you grow,” Harry Kramer.
If the purpose of leadership is to identify and create the future, what leadership skills are most useful?
Post in a picture by Larry Coppenrath: Challenges of Leadership
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Perfect answers are the result of lack of thought. It is a powerful statement. Solutions depend upon the many factors, so one problem may have many solutions. I agree that dissatisfaction is crux to right leadership journey. Leaders feel dissatisfaction even they achieve their goal. Sooner they achieve, they set even bigger target. In the process they derive happiness. When they achieve goal, they feel happy. But this happiness does not stay for long. Dissatisfaction keeps away happiness. But optimism is the link that creates linkage between dissatisfaction and happiness. I think the leadership skills that are most useful are curiosity, passion and strong will. Leaders believe in putting effort and expecting less. It does not mean that they are not hopeful. In fact they have realistic optimism.
Thank you for your comment today…
I can’t believe I left out curiosity. What a powerful leadership quality. Leaders face challenges w/curiosity. Curiosity is the flip side of defeat. Curiosity opens the window to options.
Thanks for sharing your insights.
Ajay, love the curiosity part. I once had a college professor, reflecting on the difference in our generation (boomer) 25 years later, and his current class of students, say, “The current group is just as smart, they just aren’t as curious. They care less about “how” and “why” and simply did something apply in some practical way.” He felt they weren’t as good at “depth” education as a result. Umm, that’s curious.
Skills may vary from leader to leader, but as my boss reminded me yesterday, nothing gets accomplished, and no one gets passionate, unless the leader has energy. Passivity gets you nowhere & inspires no one.
Great addition to the list… The energy level of those around you seldom if ever exceeds yours.
Thanks for adding value!
Excellent post Dan, I have learned a really strategic little formula about Change from a couple of Kingdom guys working in South Asia.
D x V x FS x CL > R
FS= First Steps
CL= Courageous Leadership
> = Must be greater than
Your point # 10 above is most critical if there is not courageous leadership then the enterprise sits in the swamp of “It’s not my fault”
Thanks for the good word and the leadership formula you added. It’s simple, sequential, and helps me see the ongoing process of being a leader.
I didn’t use the term “courageous” but I think thats the core element of taking action…
Thanks for sharing your insights.
Great post Dan and good call on curiosity Ajay! Curiosity and judgement can not exist at the same time. If your approach consistently includes curiosity judgement will consistently be suspended; Vision is clearer and broader moving you forward, sometimes in unexpected directions.
One thing I hear from you is “unexpected directions.” The importance of adaptability and agility come together.
Thank you for your insights.
Dan, great 10, plus some great additions from your leaders. I really like clarity, energy, and one I would add…balance. Balance is the ability to see the “and”, not just the “or”. It is not just about people or about task, it is about both. Balance enables us to be open, to be optimistic, to not get too dissatisfied, or too discouraged, and it enables us to be predictable (I know who/what I will get when I deal with you). Balance isn’t about boring, not being able to make decisions, or having opinions. Balance indicates a breadth to your character and to your soul. It enables you to engage individuals, teams, and organization from a position of strength, knowing that you can deal with a broad spectrum of personalities and interests with…balance. It can help bring focus and clarity to people and to a situation by reducing unproductive distraction. This creates the space where greater productivity and results can flourish.
“Balance is the ability to see the ‘and’.” KaChing!!
Jim Collins put it, “Embrace the genius of and.”
Either/or draws lines and often doesn’t get me where I want to go.
Thank you for sharing your insights.
A great post with 10 excellent ways to face challenges of Leadership. The successful leader actually uses a blend of various things as listed. It’s really a comprehensive list for ensuring success in the commercial and social fields..However, you have missed ‘gathering and relying on business/market intelligence while taking any decsion’ and ‘weeding out players who are not part of a winning team’.
Good leaders always lead from the front and set deadlines for the team to accomplish tasks. No where, you have touched upon the values that leaders follow to strenthen their own and organization image. .
You bring up an uncomfortable point… “weeding out” As Jim Collins puts it. Get the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus.”
If anything, leaders typically take too long to deal with employees who aren’t aligned. In the nonprofit world it’s even more difficult to clearly identify and develop the “right” people. Again, “right” is about alignment concerns organizational mission, vision, and values.
Always a pleasure,
I would add leaders need to set the new standard. Everything needs measurement -something to compare to for evaluation. When a leader creates a clear expectation of what success looks like and engages their team in helping to build the strategies and tactics to get there true collaboration begins.
Successful teams are committed teams. When issues, obstacles and concerns arise ( as they always do) successful teams will commit to overcoming them. People will accomplish truly amazing things when they believe in a purpose bigger than themselves.
Thanks for joining in… as I read you made me think…define the win and determine ways to know when your winning.
How do we know if we are winning? Every leader needs to answer that question clearly.
Thanks for making me think.
Great list Dan!
I always tell myself: remember on the other side of a challenge lies new knowledge, new skills learned and success whatever way it goes. I relate fully with keeping things simple and clear and letting any single opportunity be a chance to lead. My final thought on this is no mater where am at on the leadership scale, my mantra is very important in getting me to where I envison myself.
True leaders must be vision-oriented, intuitive and also must possess an unrelenting desire to lead his/her team to success. In psychology, desire is define as  a conscious longing or want  a conscious wish to be rid of unpleasant or aversive stimulus or situation. For example, the desire to challenge the status quo…the desire to learn new things…the desire to face the unknown…etc., intuition on the other hand is the bringing together of knowledge and experience-I accept experience as the best teacher- to produce new insights, whereas, vision is the ability to look ahead about the future. What better trait of a credible leader to be forward-looking, foresighted and the cunning ability to connect the dots? To me, the trait I call “desire” will make it all happen…. And lastly, Isn’t it true that “desire is the very essence of man?” I’ve read that from Baruch Espinoza quotes.
please send to me answer for the following question; how did leadership contribute for the challenges and its restoration? what lessons would be learn from the experience of the challenge on leadership role?