The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) interviewed leaders from seven countries in order to identify The Challenges Leaders Face Around the World. Not surprisingly they shared many of the same leadership challenges.
It quickly became clear as I read the CCL white paper that the concerns of leaders around the world fell into four categories—Me, You, We, and It.
This focus is also supported by Daniel Goleman, “A failure to focus inward leaves you rudderless, a failure to focus on others renders you clueless, and a failure to focus outward may leave you blindsided.”
As you read through the four categories score your effectiveness in each and identify areas to improve.
Research indicates that the first impression you make on someone happens in about five seconds. Leadership begins with developing your personal managerial effectiveness and managing yourself, being keenly self-aware and developing the ability to self-regulate.
How you present yourself will set the stage and role-model how others behave. Not sure how you come across? To understand where to focus your self-regulation, honest feedback on how your message and behavior are seen by others is often the first place to start. Accepting and taking advantage of feedback requires you to keep yourself open to new ideas and stay willing to evolve your own thinking, behavior, and communication.
Questions to consider: Are you actively seeking out feedback? When you receive feedback do you diligently integrate changes into your behavior? Can others see that you are taking their feedback seriously?
Inspiring others and bringing out their best requires that you know how to motivate each of your employees. Knowing their strengths, weaknesses, and motivators demands intimate understanding of each employee as an individual. You use this intimate understanding to support progress, remove obstacles, and help them do their best work.
Understanding your employees intimately comes from observation. Listen actively, paying attention to the verbal and, especially, nonverbal cues in order to understand what is really being said and adapt your communication to each.
Questions to consider: Do you know what makes them tick, individually? Do you assign tasks that are relevant, matched to skill level, yet motivating for each? Do you know how much support they need?
In any organization, productive work is accomplished by teams of people. The degree to which teams are aligned often determines organizational performance. Your team needs a clear purpose and well-defined direction so that they can march to the same drum beat.
Encourage bold collaboration among your team members and hold them accountable for working well together. Remember, We Challenges are best solved by respecting differences and incorporating diverse views.
Questions to consider: Do you have a team-performance objective and metric set? Are team members actively collaborating to solve critical business challenges? Have you identified and dealt with those marching to their own drum?
What is the job-to-be-done? Plan the work, work the plan, and evaluate progress. Your job is to manage the work of your employees—guide the way they do it and to ultimately deliver on what is promised to stakeholders and customers.
In today’s high-volume-workload environments, the challenge to prioritize and execute remains. Define expectations. Inspect what you expect and coach people to get assignments done, follow up on performance, and meet your metrics. Optimize your value to the organization.
Questions to consider: Is your team working on the right stuff? Are they focused on both day-to-day and strategic activities? Are they delivering what is promised?
If you really want to learn and put into practice the most effective ways to conquer your personal leadership challenges, I strongly recommend our CoachQuest Leader-as-Coach Program. There you will learn and practice the leadership skills you need to address alongside leaders like you from other organizations with many of the same challenges.