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5 Common Leadership Challenges

leadership leadership challenges leadership development leadership obstacles Dec 08, 2020
5 Common Leadership Challenges

Being a leader comes with many challenges, and managing a team during a pandemic brings on even more. It can be difficult to guide remote employees, find success during unstable economic times, and also meet your personal and professional goals. Despite the difficulties, it is possible to successfully manage the many pressures that come along with being a leader right now. 


Keep reading to identify common obstacles and to learn how to power through.


1. Loneliness

A common struggle we hear from our executive leaders is that it feels lonely at the top. Now especially, loneliness has hit hard for those working remotely with limited interaction with their teams. Not only can it be physically lonely since you aren’t coming face-to-face with colleagues and team members, but you can feel emotionally lonesome as well.


To overcome loneliness, set up regular check-ins with your employees to keep the lines of communication open. Chances are, if you’re feeling lonely––they are too!


It’s also a good idea to check-in with other leaders at your level. Sometimes just having someone you can talk openly with about higher-level work issues can alleviate the loneliness of being a leader. A network of support is such an important part of overcoming this leadership challenge.


Finally, set up some social time! Whether it’s an online party or other activity, coworkers can feel like family. Having fun and connecting on a non-work level can help you and your team both emotionally and psychologically.


2. Employee Frustration

A leader is responsible for managing employee frustrations regarding workplace relationships, job duties and company culture. But given the pandemic, these feelings can be amplified. 


How can you manage them?


Having an open dialogue with your team is key before it’s “too late.” Not only that, these kinds of conversations should be regular and timely so that they don’t come as a result of a situation that is too far gone. The moment you detect any frustration, address it. A delay can result in a poisoning of your company culture as your frustrated employee tries to make his/her voice heard in other unhealthier ways. It’s ok to let a team member vent about what is making them frustrated, but make sure it’s through proper avenues with the right person.


Once they’ve shared their concerns , it’s important to be honest, empathetic, and share a planned course of action that both can agree.


3. Employee Mental Health

Everyone is operating under massive amounts of stress as we maneuver the pandemic. In fact, most people report higher levels of stress as they manage work, home life, lack of schooling for their children, and overall fear of the unknown. It’s more important than ever to support mental health for all employees.


Flexibility is key when discussing challenges with your team. Be wary of stressors that your remote workers are battling and strive to allow for changes in your normal schedule. Nothing is normal right now!


Discuss any and all available support and resources with your HR department that can include benefits and options for team members who need extra care, and share about these options often. 


Don’t forget to also take care of yourself!


4. Overworked

RIght now, feelings of being overworked are common, given that so many workers are meshing their personal and professional life during what used to be designated focused work hours. Whether you are coming alongside an employee who feels their workload is too heavy or you as a leader are feeling burnout, there are some ways to combat it.


First, start setting boundaries. 


Although it may be difficult initially, set specific work and personal times in your schedule, where nary the two shall meet. Once you’re “off the clock” step into your personal role and try to keep a distance from your desk until its work time again.


Check-in with yourself when starting a new task and ask if it’s necessary. Sometimes we take on duties because it’s what we’ve always done, but they may not be the most important tasks to focus on after an evaluation. 


Leaders should spend 60% of their time on the most important things to move their business forward, so be sure you have clarity on those most important things and work in that zone most frequently.


Don’t be afraid to say “no.” Oftentimes, feelings of being overworked arise when we take on too many responsibilities either because we want to help or we feel we can’t say no. Now’s the perfect time to take inventory and unload some of your non-essential tasks so you can get back to feeling productive instead of overwhelmed. 


5. Not Enough Time

There are only 24 hours in a day, and that’s one thing that will never change. Chances are, you are feeling like you don’t have enough time because your calendar needs a reality check.


It’s time to prioritize your important tasks, set up a workable schedule that will allow you to productively meet your deadlines, and it’s time to master delegation.


Many people who run out of time are often guilty of over-multitasking. Studies have shown that focus-tasking is a much better method of productivity. Focus on one thing, then move on to the next.


Now may also be a good time to reset your internal clock and start rising earlier in the day. Productive leaders tend to get some of their best work done first thing, setting the tone for a day of compounding successes.


Bottom line: managing leadership pressure is of utmost importance in today’s workforce. Keeping on top of your own stresses and those of your employees will take you far in developing yourself as the leader you are striving to become.


Want to face leadership challenges with a supportive network, helpful resources, and methods to elevate your leadership? Check out the Talent Magnet Community here. 

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