Over the years, there have been several features of managers and CEOs in top companies quitting. Such stories are not new. Without getting into the details of what could have led them to it or speculating, they can lead us to an essential yet severely ignored issue; insufficient debates on how to deal with the pains of leadership.
There are tons of articles, books, and courses on how to rise and remain at the top. Surprisingly, there are few and hardly any open discussions about the new set of challenges that you are likely to face when you achieve that goal; when you finally have tens or hundreds of people answering to you. There are two common assumption surrounding the challenges of leadership. First, to be appointed as a leader, you must have recorded stellar performance over the years and learned how to maneuver challenges. With this, some assume that there are minimal chances of the once hard working candidate being overwhelmed or not being excited by the new role.
Second, that with the new title, the money, and the power will overshadow, and sometimes entirely eliminate, the possibility of challenges. Or if challenges do appear, then the person will glance at the widely envied name and enumeration and be grateful or ‘not make a mountain out of a molehill’. Certainly, gratitude is important and so is caution against exaggerating, but there are issues that ought to be addressed.
This article explores 5 challenges that leaders face and how to deal with them. Whether you are an experienced leader or rising up the ranks, your position should not feel like punishment for excellence. Read on.
Managing different characters
Companies grow because of joint efforts among other reasons. With the myriad characters in all offices and no standard way of managing, leadership can seem like a burden instead of a milestone worth celebrating. Here are a few ways of handling different characters.
Effective communication is still important. However, since workplaces bring together people who have varying opinions in all subjects, there is always a possibility of someone taking the information to an unintended direction. It can feel particularly unfair that those who are close to you can choose to spread false information.
As a leader, you do not have the chance of letting your employees interpret the message as they please. You still have a responsibility of showing them the way otherwise there might be costly errors.
Here are several ways that you can clear misunderstanding:
- Avoid ambiguity
- Be direct
- Invite multiple interpretations: More often than not, you may have one or a few ways of interpreting a certain subject. Opening the ground for a discussion allows you to see myriad interpretations and offer clarity.
- Explain where necessary
- Use the right communication platforms: You are spoilt for choice of communication platforms. The right platform in this context means one that will command the authority you desire.
Being a leader makes you are subject to satire from employees and people around you in direct and indirect ways. This is partially linked to being misunderstood where employees can assume the hard decisions are personal attacks. The attacks are not always signs of poor leadership but rather you being an easy target.
For instance, some employees may not take responsibility of low performance. Instead, they can pick on the workplace culture and resources. Others pick on keen attention to performance as being critical.
As a leader, you can only do your best for your company because the demands will shift frequently.
Opposing yet essential roles
On any particular day, there is always a clash between being in charge and part of your team. The former demands that you constantly make hard decisions that can bring sustainable and all rounded growth in your company, like dismissing the underperforming candidates. The later calls you to show a bit of your personal side to encourage empathy and a good climate.
As a leader, your reaction shapes the culture of the company, but it can be hard to know where the boundary lay. On one hand, too much focus on showing that you are in charge can cultivate a culture of fear and lead to high turnovers. On the other, too many interactions can blur the line between friendliness and professionalism, which can make some employees reluctant.
Be attentive to know where each is needed and monitor the reactions.
One reason why top executives quit is disagreements over business ethics. Each day leaders are confronted by situations that demand keen consideration. In such cases, some executives may want the shortcuts that guarantee instant gratification or satisfaction.
Compromising is like stepping on a slippery slope. It can start with one act that seems harmless and unrecognizable, but upon tasting the results, it can be hard to overlook the option in future. This eventually sets the company on a path of scandals, high turnovers, financial losses, or dismissal from operation.
Look into the future and see the results of an unethical act and inform your leadership about it. Adherence to ethics means good business, diversity, alliances, growth, and a long stay in the market.
Leadership is not always easy, especially if those who are answering to you treat you differently and constantly place you on a weighing scale of rights and wrongs or when your every move places the company on a delicate scale of rising or falling. Familiarizing yourself with some of these challenges and adjusting your approach frequently as situations demand can help you succeed in your role.