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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
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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.

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Featured photo credit: Leadership/carowallis1 via

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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