Leadership is a worthy pursuit. It’s also a difficult one. But, surprisingly, the most challenging aspects of leadership are not circumstantial but internal. While outward and circumstantial challenges occur often, it’s the internal choices a leader makes that distinguish him or her as a successful leader.
Here are six obstacles to effective leadership that may be blocking your path.
1. Lack of Self-Awareness
Healthy self-awareness is the key to personal development as it recognizes needed areas of growth. Being self-aware means that you also know your strengths and how you can help best can help your team. It also means you see how your actions “come across” to others. For example, do your brief-and-to-the-point words come across as rude and demeaning?
Without proper self-awareness, a leader can hurt himself, others, and the organization by not acknowledging the effects of their actions or their own need for growth.
2. Refusing to Learn — from Mistakes
Mistakes aren’t fun. Sometimes they’re downright embarrassing, and it’s tempting to shove them under the rug. But mistakes are a growth -catalyst. A strong leader recognizes the cost of their mistakes, as well as the opportunity for change. Whether the mistake was a systematic error or a poor decision, you can always choose to learn what “not to do the next time.”
3. Refusing Help
Sometimes both insecurity and arrogance stop a leader from asking for help. It’s a big pitfall we all fall into from time to time. But there will always be things that aren’t in your wheelhouse of knowledge or ability. Or perhaps you will have just one (or two) too many things on your plate, and you need to delegate some projects. An effective leader acknowledges and welcomes help from others.
4. Abuse of Power
We’ve all worked under someone who abused their role by dictating, micromanaging the team, or being an all-around jerk. Working for that kind of boss or manager drains the joy out of a workplace. But a wise leader knows the balance between firm direction and gentle prodding. They also trust their team to do their job. They extend their authority by delegating when appropriate and foster a culture of success for everyone.
5. Clinging to the Past
Sometimes you just have to ‘let go.’ Most people don’t like change (maybe you’re one of them), but successful leaders know when it’s time to retire old tools, systems, and patterns that are no longer relevant. Leadership involves some trial and error, so it’s essential to be flexible and welcome change. And on another note, letting go of the past also means letting go of old grudges and frustrations. It isn’t an easy task but critical for leadership success.
6. Choosing Popularity
It’s normal to want people to like you. Indeed, no one likes being disliked. But authentic leadership doesn’t care about being liked. To be more clear, authentic leadership doesn’t choose to be liked at the cost of the organization’s success. Choosing personal popularity over the health of the organization compromises the team’s end goals and fosters mediocrity.
As you strive towards dynamic leadership, know that we here at Hamilton Connections have your back! We will support you as we help match top-tier talent to your company. Call us today and let us connect you with your next team member.