Practical Tips for Winning with the 7 most Provocative Challenges of Leadership

The saddest state of leadership is thinking you’ve mastered something you haven’t.

7 Provocative Challenges:

#1. Courageously leading into the future while diligently managing the present. Over-led organizations become unstable. There’s too much change. Over-managed organizations grow stagnant.

Tip: Bring the outside in. Invite new employees to describe what it’s like to work within your organization. Listen for what they don’t say.

#2. Speaking the truth with candor, kindness, and respect.

Tip: Persistently invite people to speak the truth to you.

  1. Avoid defensiveness.
  2. Explore multiple alternatives.
  3. Always express gratitude when receiving input and feedback.

#3. Providing opportunities for individual choice while fulfilling organizational objectives.

Tip: First explore mission, vision, and goals. Second, ask how they might contribute in meaningful ways..

#4. Making space for others to move the agenda forward when you ‘know’ best.

Tip: Get out of the way.

  1. Provide training, mentoring, and coaching for team members.
  2. Stop making minor improvements to other people’s ideas.
  3. Provide opportunities for others to reflect. Ask, “What are you learning?”
  4. Practice saying, “Come back tomorrow and let me know how that worked.”
  5. Ask, “How might I help?”

#5. Unconsciously expecting more from others than you expect from yourself. Position and authority blind people. The result is entitlement.

Tip: Make a list of the things that frustrate you about your team members. How might you see yourself in the list?

  1. Are you complaining that others complain too much?
  2. Are you waiting for others to take initiative?
  3. What’s your ratio of giving feedback to inviting feedback?

#6. Refusing to have the same conversation more than once.

Tip: Point out patterns. “I notice that we discussed this last time we met. What needs to happen to change our next conversation?”

#7. Developing emotional intelligence when it seems that results are all that matters.

Tip: Ask yourself how you want others to feel when they’re around you. What behaviors will you adopt to encourage those emotions?

What leadership challenges and tips might you add to the list?

What tips do you have for the following leadership challenges?

  1. Managing energy.
  2. Nurturing connection when isolation feels easier.
  3. Building environments where teams thrive and talent wins.
  4. Nudging people to stretch themselves.