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Leadership Challenges to Face in 2016

Feb 9, 2016 | Leadership

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We are nearly halfway through the first quarter of 2016 already. It’s hard to believe. And yet, here we are. While you prepare product launches, move toward expansion in new areas or markets, or create changes inside your organization to match this year’s goals, you may find yourself facing a few, shall we say, leadership challenges.

Global change and keeping up with technology change as a leader and organization is not easy. Add to it the economy and talk of another recession—this time around school debt—and your stress level increases dramatically. These are the stressors on top of the normal leadership challenges, such as turnover, unhappy customers, or a website that wont’ work correctly.

As we move to close out the first quarter, let’s begin to think about how we can best prepare for the things we can control—and those we can’t.

The Forthcoming Leadership Challenges

Millennials are redefining our definition of success. Wired differently than previous generations, Millennials focus on purpose, passion, shared ideas, and delivering long-term value.

It is our job to not only understand them and adapt our messages to fit their learning styles, but to win their trust. Of course, this goes for every other generation, as well, but Millennials tend to want to work with organizations—and its leaders—that focus on giving back.

Do you have a community initiative? One that not only fits the brand, but the personality of your team members? This is one of the surest ways to quickly connect with your Millennial workforce and earn their trust.

How you show up makes all the difference. This isn’t a new leadership challenge, but it is one worth repeating: The way you present yourself becomes increasingly more important.

Cam Newton had a pretty rough game on Sunday. During the news conference after the game, he overheard Chris Harris explaining their game strategy. He said, “Force y’all to throw the ball. Can you throw the football?”

It’s not a surprise Newton reacted negatively to that comment and I’m willing to bet you’ve had an experience in your career where you’ve just wanted to walk out: A bad board meeting, a sales presentation gone wrong, an unhappy customer who reads you the riot act. Whatever it might be, the way you react says a lot about your leadership style, and a lot to how your team members should behave.

How you talk, walk, and speak with your team in those moments makes all the difference. Remember, a leader’s work is never done. Always walk the talk, and talk the walk.

Leading change. Leading change means more than just jumping in when things don’t go as planned. Leading change it’s about clear communication, overcoming resistance to change in your organization, dealing with consequences, and helping your team embrace change at all levels.

Easier said than done, but how you deal with it can either positively or negatively affect your leadership style and on how your team sees you.

True leaders show their worth in hard times so be prepared.

Maintaining focus and motivation. Distraction is one of the worst enemies of every leader. Along with interruption, they can ruin a well-planned day. Maintaining a laser-focus comes from determining the most important thing to accomplish, and choosing to focus on that first.

Begin your day by asking yourself, “What is the most important thing we need to accomplish today?” Then clearly communicate it to your team.

Motivation is something that always has to come from the inside. Being a leader is a solo game, you are there by yourself, and you need to show up, dress for the part, and keep your team inspired and motivated to give their best.

To be able to do that, you also have to be motivated. Know your why and your purpose, move toward the vision, and make sure to remember it every day. That’s the only way to stay motivated in hard times.

Communicate your definition of success. We talked about how Millennials change our definition of success. However, clearly communicating your definition of success to your team is the first step in reaching your goals.

We live in a world overloaded with information. Every minute of our days is inundated with information. Under these conditions it’s very easy to assume everyone knows your definition of success.

Don’t be the leader who assumes people can read your mind. Clearly communicate your goals to your team, add a timeframe, and give them the appropriate tools for success.

These five leadership challenges are just a few you will face this year. Understanding them and acting accordingly is crucial for your success and the success of your organization.

And don’t forget: Be better, be brief.

image credit: shutterstock

Want to know more about being brief? Check out The Brief Practitioner, an online course from The Brief Lab that teaches executives how to avoid information overload and become lean, effective leaders and communicators.




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