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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 November 19, 2019

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

“When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

4. Use Your Phone Wisely

Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

6. Use a “To Don’t” List

We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

8. Be Concise

Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

  • Making new contacts
  • Talking about yourself at a job interview
  • Meeting people at conferences or parties
  • Phone calls to new clients

9. Ask the Right Questions

“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

10. Learn as Much as You Can

You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

The Bottom Line

The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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