Here is a list of challenging, but overlooked situations that the best leaders commonly face [you are not alone]:
As part of the role, you need to lead your team and the other teams in the organization towards a common goal. You cannot please everyone’s request. It’s tough to say “NO” in a way that people understand without discouraging them.
Most leaders have long working days, and on top of that, a good leader is constantly thinking about work, looking for opportunities, learning new skills, and always ready if a team member needs him/her regardless of what time of day it is. Having optimal work/life integration is tough because you’re always in “work mode”.
Nudging people outside their comfort zone
Another key task is to make sure that your teams are always pushing their own limits to grow and raising the bar. The perfect leader is one who can find a balanced level of tension to bring out the best in their teams. It can be difficult to identify measurable, specific goals that are still a challenge yet are in the realm of achievement. If too unrealistic or harsh, your team gets burned out. If too comfortable, your team gets bored.
Remember, if you lower the bar, you lose the winners. If you raise the bar, you lose the losers.
Being the Middle Person
Even if you are CEO, it’s also your job to act as a defender and a liaison on behalf of your team in front of your boss or the board of your company. The way you present your team can determine how much higher-ups feel they can push your goals and achievements. At the same time, you have to be the “middle person” for your leadership when it comes to communicating down goals. It can be a hard position to juggle!
Little to no leadership training
In many cases, you are great at the work you do…and all of a sudden you get promoted as a leader. Maybe in addition to using your amazing technical skills, you’re now asked to be an expert in people management, change management, communication, and other leadership areas that you may not have much experience in. Constant learning is required to be a great leader but it can be difficult if your company doesn’t have opportunities for leadership development and training.
This is probably one of the toughest elements of being a leader since you structurally become “the boss” and there is an inevitable divide that exists between you and your team. Even if you are the coolest boss ever, there will always be a gap. Your team can turn to you and turn inwards in stressful times, but who can you go to? That lack of mentorship is hard to find, which results in more instances of loneliness, especially when your tough decisions make you feel like you’re an enemy to your team or company.
As a leader, what do you need to be happy and fulfilled? The same principles that universally apply to any human being are the same for someone in a leadership position - the most important part is how you adapt them into your life. LOL, it sounds obvious, but sometimes we forget that the same elements that make anyone else happy, can make leaders happy!
To recap, remember that it’s okay to set boundaries and say “no”. Always make sure to keep a healthy work/life integration.
Focus on leading your team outside of their comfort zone, and be that middle person who goes to bat for them as needed.
Remember that no one expects you to know everything. It’s good to stay in learning mode. Even the greatest leaders continue learning.
Lastly, if you are currently facing any of these challenges, just know you are not alone.
We have put together a tool to help your team calculate your culture savings.
This easy to use calculator will show you the ROI of a happier workplace including sales, productivity, and retention unique to your organization.
What could you gain from a happier workplace?