Leadership…well, if there is one quality that the world is dying for to acquire, it has to be this. Why not? If it is not leadership that has transformed human history, what else has? Leaders are believed to be a special lot because they are the influencers, whether at the political, organizational, social or any other level.
Leadership has its unimaginable kicks and perks. But it also comes with huge challenges. Let us examine some of the biggest challenges leaders face in organizations:
One of the biggest and most intriguing challenges leaders face in organizations is managing talent in the organization. Talent that is relevant to the exact needs of the organization is usually difficult to find; it is all the more difficult to retain. People who have talent are very hot property in the job market. If one organization is successful in attracting talent, other organizations are equally desperate for that talent. Many leaders face the challenge of not only finding the right talent and leveraging it for the organization’s good, but also keeping it for the long haul.
Managing difficult people
People with whom leaders interact on a daily or on a continuing basis can sometimes be very difficult and irksome to handle. A client can set up unreasonable expectations. A payment or a delivery may not have come on time. An employee may have a difficulty in being productive. On top of all these, some people can be confrontational or noncooperative. Overriding or handling these and making the most out of all these for the organization is one of the biggest challenges leaders face in organizations.
Dealing with change
We have been told that change is the only constant in business. Peter Drucker may have coined this adage decades ago, but this aphorism could not be truer than it is today. Businesses and technology are in a state of flux and will continue to be so. Why? Simple: because it is inbuilt into their core nature. Stable and peaceful markets could become volatile in no time because of the market conditions that could bring in unforeseen changes, sometimes violently.
Entire industries could collapse in the wave of turbulence, as the economic downturn of a decade ago showed. One of the biggest challenges leaders face in organizations is in helping to tide over life and death issues such as these. Leaders first of all anticipate changes. In situations where they are unable to do this, their skill lies in handling the fallouts of the shakeup.
Dealing with transition
Many organizations go through a phase of transition from one situation to another. In many cases, this uncertainty could last a long while. One of the biggest challenges leaders face in organizations is to help the organization stay the course. During such transitional phases, many employees are likely to lose their faith in the organization. Motivating them to both stay on and perform on top of it are some of the biggest challenges leaders face in organizations. Once the organization is able to tide over the uncertain phase, things return to normal. But enduring that stage and retaining positive relationships during that time is a challenge for leadership.
Handling political unrest
One of the oft overlooked, yet biggest challenges leaders face in organizations is that of sailing the organization through difficult political situations. What have businesses got to do with these, one may ask. A lot, I would say. Many businesses are located in very politically sensitive regions of the world.
What would a business that is based in the political flashpoints of the world such as the Middle East or violent conflict zones such as Latin America do if their core operations were in such locations? These are typically among the most testing times for leadership because they have little to no control over the situation; yet, they have to see the organization through such times.
Grooming the next generation leadership
Finding the right talent, optimizing it for the organization’s good and retaining it-all these come under one category of the biggest challenges leaders face in organizations. On top of all these, leaders are also expected to pave the way for the next generation by going through the same: identifying the next crop of leadership, nurturing it and motivating it to stay on till the present ones phases out.