You do a lot of work. Excel your own expectations. Face obstacles. And then you are a leader. How did it happen? Only you know. But this new path as a leader is not one free of challenges and obstacles. You will just be facing them behind a new lens and perspective. Today I want to address the different challenges you can face as a leader, and what you can do to overcome them.
And this is of course the first challenge some leaders face. The truth is not everyone is suited for a leadership role, but we are sure you are. However, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the role or may feel like it’s too big for you, and this is completely natural. Though these feelings are not easy to tackle, it is not impossible. Ask your colleagues, former colleagues, and managers what they consider your strengths are. Ask them to include in their feedback what makes them feel comfortable about you. Another thing you may consider asking is if they want to address any issue or any point you may need reinforcement in.
Do not take their words as criticism or negative, but as constructive feedback. These will help you reach your full potential as a leader. A leader that functions at their full potential is one that helps their team reach their and become more effective and efficient. It is okay to ask for advice, feedback, and input on how you are acting as a leader. This is especially important if your leadership position was earned through hard work and are working with the same team you were a peer with!
Uneasy Team Members
Some people do not give in to change that easily. And this is something we should always have in mind. Our brains are not all functioning the same way. It is not uncommon to find team members that are difficult to deal with. If you believe their skills are a great addition to your team, but this person is giving you a hard time when dealing with them, you can solve it. Maybe this person is not feeling inspired enough by your leadership, and this is why they always make things difficult. Have a talk with them, maybe they want more responsibilities or fewer tasks. Maybe there is something going on on a personal level that is making them be difficult at work. I think I have said it in the past and is something I can not stress enough: Communication is fundamental at any point and in any role.
We are humans, we need to converse and talk. We are gregarious beings. We are ludic beings. And not everything is always about work. Ask them how can you improve their working conditions. See if there is something about your leadership that is bothering them. Allow them to take their vacations, PTO, or mental health days. Always discuss with your team members how as a leader you can make their life reach their full potential.
Lack of Communication
*Insert a smiley face here*. Yes, I will talk about this, AGAIN. But I just believe this is the biggest challenge people across organizations face. And yet nobody is really willing to talk about it. Leaders may find it difficult to communicate with their teams. Sometimes they feel like transparency may make them come off as controlling or insensitive. But if you are a leader and feel like your team is facing issues that need to be addressed, then do so.
As a leader, you must keep constant and open communication with everyone, this way all parties are on the same page. This is done by developing customs of communication within your team. But keep in mind you also need to give them space and not interfere with their processes (do not micromanage). No one wants 5 meetings a week for 2 hours each so everyone can speak their mind. Trust your team members to do their work and open space once a week to address any concern, difficulty, or reward you may need to.
Other challenges may come, and they need to be addressed. Always address the elephant in the room. do not brush off challenges, always speak with your team, your managers, and other leaders about the different ways you can overcome what you are facing. Adjust their suggestions to your own leadership style and your team’s characteristics and personalities. And always remember to keep the human side in the human interaction. As long as you count on everyone around you, you will overcome challenges as a leader