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Top Six Leadership Challenges

December 16, 2013 By: azjogger Category: Marketing & Sales

From: Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), “Leading Effectively

The Challenges Leaders Face Around the World: More Similar than Different 

What is most challenging about leading organizations today? And do the challenges differ around the world?

CCL researchers went straight to the source for an answer to these two questions: 763 middle- and executive-level leaders in organizations from seven different places in the world (China/Hong Kong, Egypt, India, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom and United States).

 The CCL study found these leaders consistently face the same six challenges — even if they describe their challenges and specific context in different ways.

1. Developing Managerial Effectiveness: the challenge of developing the relevant skills — such as time-management, prioritization, strategic thinking, decision-making and getting up to speed with the job — to be more effective at work.

“Workload is very challenging at times. Lots of different critical projects and activities going on with limited resources in the group. Juggling priorities is always at the forefront.” —Manager from the U.S.

2. Inspiring Others: the challenge of inspiring or motivating others to ensure they are satisfied with their jobs and working smarter.

“To motivate a group of 70 staff who had been working with the organization for more than 10 years. Some of the staff have been in the same position without promotion for more than 6 to 8 years,”  —Singaporean manager

3. Developing Employees: the challenge of developing others, including mentoring and coaching.

“Qualify my direct reports to fill in for me in the tasks previously done by myself, mainly on two fronts, 1st to develop their business knowledge and sense of perfection which will, 2nd, help them gain their team members’ trust and dedication.” —Egyptian manager

4. Leading a Team: the challenge of team-building, team development and team management. Specific challenges include how to instill pride in a team or support the team, how to lead a big team and what to do when taking over a new team.

“Creating a really collaborative team in a newly established unit.” —Spanish manager

5. Guiding Change: the challenge of managing, mobilizing, understanding and leading change. Guiding change includes knowing how to mitigate consequences, overcome resistance to change and deal with employees’ reaction to change.

“Leading the organization through a business-wide transformation program as part of the executive team. This involves the consolidation of product offerings, driving customer centricity, well-managed agendas, substantial outsourcing and headcount reduction.” —U.K. manager

6. Managing Internal Stakeholders and Politics: the challenge of managing relationships, politics and image. This challenge includes gaining managerial support and managing up and getting buy-in from other departments, groups or individuals.

“The ability to convince and influence other stakeholders to follow the regional and global direction.” —Manager from India

“How to enhance the department position in the organization to add more value to the organization in both operational and strategic perspective.” —Manager from China

Knowing that these challenges are common experiences for middle and senior managers is helpful to both the leaders and those charged with their development, according to the CCL researchers.

Individuals can benefit from knowing their experiences as leaders are more similar than different and can feel more confident in reaching out to others to help them learn and face these challenges. Learning and development professionals can more clearly tailor their efforts to meet the most pressing needs of the leadership pool they serve.

Details of the research, as well as suggestions for helping leaders develop skills to address these top challenges, are found in the new CCL white paper, “The Challenges Leaders Face Around the World: More Similar than Different.”

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