The Point: Challenges… You can’t live with them… You’d probably be better off living without them! But here’s the reality: Challenges are a part of every leader’s life. We started thinking here at the Javelin Institute, “If challenges are going to be present, how can today’s leader effectively address them?” So, in this post we’ll explore the leadership challenge of addressing challenges… Enjoy!
I’ve Got Challenges… You’ve Got Challenges… We’ve All Got Challenges!
Jason was a general manager for a large big-box retailer. He had been in charge of his current store (His fifth) for a little over a month when one of the managers approached him to share “We’ve got a problem!” The manager described the situation where frontline workers were not utilizing the CRM by properly completing all of the requested fields for a client. This manager who oversaw the CRM realized the requirements for the workers to complete this assignment, and in not doing so was concerned that CRM utilization would diminish (Let alone the fact that it made him look bad!)
Challenges like Jason received in the above analogy are not uncommon for today’s leader. As a matter of fact, I would argue that a leader that faces no challenges isn’t leading effectively. But how exactly can a leader effectively act in addressing challenges? Let’s look at addressing challenges from two perspectives, namely addressing challenges from the rear and addressing challenges from the front (or head-on!)
Addressing Challenges from the Rear
“Let’s just see how things work themselves out” is a refrain I typically hear from leaders when addressing challenges. This “addressing challenges from the rear” approach is rarely successful. The reason being is that the challenging situation isn’t really addressed. Passive isn’t a powerful leadership stance to take and occurring loss during challenging moments is never a good strategy.
Addressing Challenges from the Front (Head-On!)
My preferred recommendation for addressing challenges is for leaders to face them from the front, or head-on. Developing the strategy to overcome the challenge is a solid first step. In doing so, securing information/details that provide perspective is paramount. Then, after the strategy has been architected it should be communicated to all. Lastly, and this is a crucial step, the strategy should contain metrics/key performance indicators (KPI’s) that can be collected/reviewed at set cadence intervals so that performance can be gaged. Corrections should be incorporated into strategy revisions as required. Note the importance of addressing challenges from the front, or head-on!
Challenging situations rarely turn from bad to good as time progresses. I once had a manager tell me that “Things like this just seem to work themselves out over time” as if it was his/the organization’s preferred method in addressing challenges. In the wake of addressing challenges from the rear, was left a wake of devastation and destruction; Goals were missed, Budgets were blown, and careers were cast in a downward trajectory. In order to lead effectively, today’s leader should look to address challenges head-on from the front!
PS – 2020 will be here before we know it, and I see some disturbing Leadership-trends taking place. If you’d like to receive a white paper I wrote on “5 Ways Your Leadership Will Fail in 2020” CLICK HERE.
PPSS – As we hit the halfway point of 2019, I’m about to launch my most aggressive initiative to date. It’s a 501(c)(3) that provides Executive Education that will allow you to become the BEST leader possible (NOT Good, NOT Better… but BEST!). Set to launch in July 2019, I’m allowing 10 people in my network to “test-drive” the offering. If you’d like more information, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.