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10 Challenges Leaders Always Face And How To Deal With Them

10 Challenges Leaders Always Face And How To Deal With Them

Just because you become a leader in your organization doesn’t mean that the floor won’t drop out around you. That is what you, as a leader, have been chosen to handle. In fact, it is your quest if you accept it. There are 10 issues that leaders always have to face, but with the right tact and skill, you can route a strong course and come out on top.

Change

The fact that you have accepted a leadership role is a change all to itself, but everyday is filled with possibilities for change. Some of them are things that you have chosen and others are the luck of the draw. Your role as a leader is to not get off balance because of change. You either have to see it coming and prepare or be able to handle it on the fly because both things are inevitable.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglass

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1. Difficult People

There will always be people on your team, in your organization and in your working life who are difficult. Your goal, as a leader, is to handle them with grace and kindness. Don’t feed into them. Don’t prolong your exposure to them. Above all, don’t let them get you down.

2. Pressure

The work environment has a lot of pressure built into it. Your ability to accept and release some of that pressure will benefit you in the long run. You can’t run at full speed 100% of the time and allowing some quieter moments that help you find balance will be paramount to your success as a leader.

3. Letting Someone Go

As a leader it will, at some point, be your job to either recommend that someone leave your organization or you are going to have to move someone on yourself. Never do this in a rash manner or under anger. Your ability to calmly make this organizational change for the better of the organization is the mark of true leadership.

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4. Delivering Bad News

Products will fail, timelines won’t be met, your goals will lag—that is all just part of business, but it will be your job to tell your board or your superiors. Being able to tell bad news without drama and with clarity will allow you to find the next steps. Bad stuff happens; it is how you share it that is going to matter in your next move.

5. Staying Motivated

Sometimes as a leader you can feel your motivation for the project or the organization fall flat. It happens to the best of us, but what you need to do is muster all of the good stuff around you and get back on track. Don’t spend time dwelling on what isn’t working unless you can fix it. You won’t always be the number one cheerleader in your own mind, but your team is expecting you to be so get out there and share the enthusiasm you do have; even when you are a little off your game.

6. Culture Issues

Just because you work in an organization doesn’t mean that you don’t have issues with your culture. You might be an office that doesn’t get along well as a team, has communication issues, gossips, or has undermining team members. Whatever it is, you are going to have to deal with it as the leader. Changing cultural habits in an organization isn’t easy, but you set the tone. If you don’t want people to gossip, don’t gossip. If you want teams to work better together, you have to work well with teams. You are setting the entire tone of how the culture in your organization exists.

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“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” – @simonsinek

7. Being Respected and Being Liked

You aren’t always going to be liked. The minute you put your hand up to lead something, someone else is going to shoot you down. That is just life. Don’t get swayed by that and work to be kind and focused in your communications. Respect will come, and if you are lucky, you might even be liked.

8. Maintaining Focus

It is so easy to get distracted! Everyone wants something, is selling you something, or is trying to get you to notice them. That is part of accepting the role of leadership. Your job is to not get distracted by the shiny objects and to remain focused on the end game. You have a team to lead, a product to deliver, or a project to complete—make your plan, keep your head down and maintain focus.

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9. Communication Problems

Inevitably someone is going to reply all to an email that they shouldn’t have, a team member isn’t going to get the deadline straight, or someone just isn’t going to get the memo all together. Communication issues are probably your number one stressor as a leader. Practicing your skills at being clear and brief will benefit the entire organization.

10. Handling a Dud

Every once in a while, a project just doesn’t work or the event is a bust. Don’t worry. It happens to the best of us. How you handle it is what matters. Don’t let your team go down into a spiral of self pity or blame. Just dust yourself off and figure out how the next thing is going to be awesome.

Leadership isn’t just about the hard stuff, but it is a big part of shouldering the responsibility. Each time you have to grapple with something difficult, you are practicing how to do it better because stuff will always come up. Your growth in leadership is dependent on the lessons you learn on dealing with the good and the bad.

Featured photo credit: Leadership/carowallis1 via

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Last Updated on July 18, 2019

How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch

Most people grow up with dreams to go to college and graduate with high-paying job offers waiting for them the week after graduation. Others may favor non-traditional career paths. But the desire is the same: to find a job we love where compensation is commensurate with experience.

However, plans change. For instance, what started out as a dream to be a surgeon is cut short by a nasty injury and you’re debating how to transition into a new role. Or you might be facing being let go from your current employer and are anxious about “options out there.”

Whatever the case may be, switching careers can be intentional or unintentional. What matters is that you’re well-prepared, and the only way to do so is to learn new skills — hone in on your transferable skills.

Why Hone in on Your Transferable Skills?

There are several reasons you need to develop these skills if you want to go far in life and your career. In a nutshell, honing in your your transferable skills can lead to:

Better Job Offers

Continuous assessment and improvement of your skills widens the pool of job offers for you to make selections from. You’re no longer tethered to one industry as you’re able to lead your career by design, not by default.

People with transferable skills on a resume also open up opportunities for more potential employers.

Increase in Pay and More Responsibilities

You’ve heard the saying “with great power come great responsibility.” In your case, transferable skills make you more marketable to employers which could lead to pay raises.

Although this isn’t an automatic process– you have to be proactive about what you want in the marketplace, there is a chance that these pay raises will come with change in titles and roles.

A Shot at Entrepreneurship

Yes, changing career paths also includes the possibility of working for yourself. With these skills and work experience, you could live anywhere in the world and design a life and career you want.

We’ve talked about why you need to strengthen your transferable skills but what are some these skills, and how can you work on them?

13 Tips to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills

1. Update Your Resume

You might be surprised to know this but yes, updating your resume is a skill. The very first thing you should do while thinking about switching careers is to highlight attributes that make you very desirable candidate to employers.

Think about your volunteer experiences, freelance projects, and school projects. Although they might seem insignificant, they demonstrate your ability to deliver results that several companies are looking for.

While you might have held several positions since college, switching careers will require you to have a different type of resume.

There are three different types of resumes: functional, chronological, and a combination resume. However, if you are looking to switch careers you’ll want to have a functional resume. A functional resume is strengths-based that emphasizes skills that are transferable rather than a collection of dates and job titles.

2. Brush up on Your Communication Skills

Every attempt to get ahead in business and in life starts with the need to communicate effectively. Whether it is interpersonal, intercultural, or multi-generational, the ability to be seen and heard while respecting the boundaries of work relationship matters.

That’s why it’s one of the top skills you need to master. Strong communication skills allows you to effectively tailor your messages to specific audiences, which will make you a stronger asset to any organization.

To hone this skill:

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Pay attention to your listening skills. To communicate effectively, you need to first learn how to understand others.

Your ability to decode overt and implied messages, no matter how nuanced they are, is key to knowing how to foster deep relationships with others.

This article can also give you effective ways to enhance your communication skills:

How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

3. Learn Technical (or Business) Writing

Another form of communication, writing, is a skill that can take you anywhere.

Companies communicate a lot through written memos, emails, newsletters, and other audio-visual means. But at the crux of this all is someone or some people who are tasked with translating the organization’s vision into statements anyone can understand.

To hone this skill:

Consider taking some free or paid classes online. You can accomplish this through several community colleges or online platforms like Lynda, Udemy or edX .

4. Practice Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

No matter how intelligent you are, no one will take you seriously if you’re unable to pull off a decent level of persuasion through presentation skills.

Most presentation can be done through either electronic devices or require your physical presence. Your chosen career may require you to be in front of several hundreds of people or you could be charged with developing materials for presentation.

To hone this skill:

Volunteer to lead projects that give you some responsibility for putting together presentations.

Also, try taking courses that will improve your public speaking skills if you feel lacking.

These tips on public speaking would be helpful too:

The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

5. Get Comfortable with Identifying Problems and Solutions

Every organization has got its problems no matter how greener the grass is on the other side.

How to hone this skill:

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Practice being resourceful.

Do you know where to find every company policy on the intranet in less than five minutes?

Think about a time you noticed some inefficiency at work and proposed a solution. Think about instances where you lent your voice to a cause which resulted in improved processes for your department.

No matter how small or inadequate you might feel, you’ve got some problem-solving skills that some organizations want.

If you look for more ways to improve your problem solving skills, take a look at this article:

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

6. Recognize Your Team-Building Ability

Your ability to smoothly switch careers also depends on how well you can energize your team, especially if you’re aiming for a leadership role. Unfortunately, team-building usually isn’t something you learn on the job in most careers unless you hold a managerial position.

The good thing is that you possibly know one or two things about team-building. Think back to moments in college when you had group projects with colleagues and had to work with 3 to 4 other strangers for months. Were you able to get past your differences and disagreements to focus on the uniqueness of everyone at the table?

Making a career switch might require that you work with multidisciplinary teams whether you have a deep knowledge of what the other team does or not. I can easily think of doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and social workers working closely to achieve the goals in a patient’s care plan.

How to hone this skill:

Look for collaborative projects and team building activities that excite you and challenge yourself with new possibilities.

Try some of these tactics to keep your team motivated as well:

17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

7. Lean into Your Leadership Skills

Although similar to the previous point, leadership skills extend far beyond building teams, managing time sheets and correcting behavior.

What I’m referring to here is your ability to develop a vision, believe in it, and inspire buy-in from everyone involved. This isn’t about knowing how to run a particular machine; it’s about how to lead a team of people with various backgrounds, experiences, and ideas of how things should be done.

How to hone this skill:

Although more complex than the rest, it all starts with an introspective look into your strengths and weaknesses. Then get a mentor or a coach who can bring out your leadership qualities so you can operate from a place of strength.

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Learn more about the effective leadership types here:

5 Types of Leadership that Help You Build a High Performance Team

8. Improve Your Analytical Skills

Are you good at taking large amount of data and interpreting them? Your skills could come in handy.

Organizations are looking for people to make sense of the data around them, explain how it affects profitability, and make projections based on it. Best of all? You don’t need to be an accountant to be analytical.

How to hone this skill:

Try taking data interpretation classes online or at a community college. Learning Microsoft Excel or Access is also a plus. If you’re ambitious enough, you could consider getting additional certifications to up the ante.

Take a look at these ways to help sharpen your analytical skills:

What Are Analytical Skills and How to Strengthen Them For Success

9. Don’t Discount Your Time Management and Prioritization Skills

How good are you when it comes to deciding how important tasks are, organizing schedules, and coordinating plans?

Should you be willing, there is a market waiting for you out there. Organizations and busy executives are always looking for talented individuals to outsource these tasks to.

How to hone this skill:

Although not everyone possesses secretarial superpowers, you can improve this skill by focusing on taking huge tasks and breaking them into smaller goals or steps in order to achieve a bigger goal.

Here, you can learn to prioritize to achieve more:

The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

10. Embrace Your Creative and Critical Thinking Side

Although it’s often believed that creativity is for the arts and right-brained people, I believe everyone is capable of being creative. In fact, most organizations recognize creativity as a vehicle that will drive successful inventions in the future.

How to hone this skill:

Try doing something fun. As simple as this sounds, you’d be surprised to learn how much. In fact, behavioral and learning scientist, Marily Oppezzo, says taking a walk might be all you need to get your creative juices flowing.[1]

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Anyone can be creative, you just need the right way to train your brain:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

11. Don’t Stop Learning Tech Knowledge and Skills

Being tech-savvy is a huge plus. If you have an affinity with computers, software applications and are abreast of technological improvements, it is a transferable skill that is worth highlighting.

You don’t have to be a young college graduate with silicon valley dreams to work

How to hone this skill:

All you need is the determination and the readiness to learn. This article will give you some ideas on the types of skills to learn:

How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

12. Build Networks and Relationships

You aren’t free from networking. Not at the moment. With your goal to switch to a different career, your networking skills will come in handy.

Fortunately for you, networking doesn’t have to be so hard.

How to hone this skill:

Attend conferences and job fairs. Chances are you already have people in your network you can move you closer to your dream career.

To enhance your networking skills, take these steps:

How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

Final Thoughts

Although there are several people with the same qualification and degree(s) you possess, what ultimately determines hireability comes down to a myriad of things such as culture fit, how teachable you are, cultural sensitivity, inter-generational awareness, and your ability to navigate uncertainty.

You have a chance to stand out by letting your dream companies know how these soft skills make you an invaluable asset, and how saying ‘YES’ to you is a win-win for both parties.

Happy career switching!

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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