The Eagle Blog

The Challenges of Leadership

Drucker quote on leadershipAs a leader how do you handle the major challenges that you face day in and day out?

The typical challenges we face are relatively predictable…

1. There are financial challenges. Meeting the company targets, selling enough business, managing costs etc.

2. There are people challenges … finding and retaining talent, dealing with personnel issues, training and investment in staff.

3. There are operational challenges … technology, product innovation, process refinements etc.

“Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.”  Brian Tracy

Some leaders will allow issues to fester … hoping they will go away. Of course we know they never will. I call this the “head in the sand” management method or the “hope and a prayer” management method.

There are leaders who will read the latest book and magically it has all the answers … although rarely is it as simple as it seems when reading the book. I call this the “Book Learning” management style.

There are leaders who will understand the problem but really have no good idea what to do about it. One of their approaches will be to push their people to work harder … but doing “more” of the same things just tends to make the problem worse. I call this the “Beat the Staff” management method.

There are leaders who always seem to get a new idea and are always trying the latest thing. I call this “Management by Theory“.

I think we have all seen various incarnations of these management styles, sometimes from the same person!

Great leaders will get input from their teams to truly understand the problems.

They will be willing to try new ideas, but they won’t necessarily “throw the baby out with the bathwater”. This may mean piloting ideas; it might mean iterative change rather than mass change.

They will embrace change because only through change do we get better.

They will worry… but they will ACT to fix their problems, NOT hope those problems will go away.

Great leaders view their problems as challenges to overcome and not millstones around their neck. They will find a way to solve their challenges and will feel good about their success.

They know that working smart is better than just working hard… but working hard AND smart will win the prize!

They are decisive but not impulsive.

They are collaborative but willing to take the lead.

They will recognise risk, mitigate it as much as possible but know they need to act!

We all want to be great leaders, but great leaders never stop learning and never stop growing… so great today is not good enough! You need to STILL be great tomorrow!

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”  Jim Rohn

Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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