The 6 Top Challenges Leaders Face (Part 3 of 3)

blog-6challengesIn our two previous posts, we mentioned six of the top leadership challenges leaders face and focused on three of those challenges in developing relationship skills to inspire, motivate and support their employees. Today, we’ll focus on the last two challenges ~ developing skills to enact change and managing internal stakeholders and politics.

Guiding change is a top challenge for leaders as we are existing in very volatile, uncertain and complex times. Leaders need to be adept at managing, mobilizing and leading and dealing with change. Incorporating change management and enhancing resourcefulness should be at the forefront of leadership development training. Here are further suggestions to develop your change leadership skills.

1. Try It, You Might Like It

It is natural that people do not like change. Leaders should try to transform their own thinking, and be more open to new and fresh ideas. If leaders are able to do that, they can be an example to others to embrace change as well. People will witness that shift in attitude and will be more likely to embrace it.

2. Embrace emotional reactions to change

When convincing people that change is needed and desirable, it’s not enough to use rational arguments. Leaders also need to be sensitive to employees’ emotions and show empathy. Engage people emotionally by being visionary, passionate and authentic. People generally make decisions emotionally and will justify their decisions intellectually.

3. Be clear

Nobody can tell others what the future will be, but you definitely can tell others about the present and what you’re doing to reach the desired outcome. Let people know what is going on. If you reduce as much ambiguity as possible, your people will be less anxious, nervous or worried enabling them to become proactive change agents. They will feel like masters of their own destiny. You have ownership and that is powerful motivator in dealing with change.

The final challenge is managing internal stakeholders and politics. This goes to show that organizations are inherently political. To more effectively manage internal stakeholders and politics, leaders need to develop and enhance their political skill and savvy, defined as “the ability to effectively understand others at work and to use such knowledge to influence others to act in ways that enhance one’s personal and/or organizational objectives.” Here are some suggestions:

1. Mingle strategically and build strong networks and relationships with people

may out your network by writing your name in the middle of a sheet of paper. Put the names of those with whom you have a strong relationship close to you, and those with whom you have a weak or distant relationship farther from you. Then ask if some of your close connections can help you meet with your distant connections.

2. Manage Up

keep your boss informed. Be proactive in telling your boss what is going on, the struggles you and your team are having and what is going well. Ask what you would like to know about yourself if you were in your boss’s shoes – and purposefully manage this perception of yourself. You can do this by enhancing some of the characteristics and talents your boss might consider the most important ones for the company, while making sure you keep your authenticity and integrity.

3. Read the situation

Observe and gather information from others and the environment. Do this by actively listening to others, paying close attention to the verbal and nonverbal behaviors of others to understand what is really being said.

4. Leave people with a good impression

being politically savvy is not being manipulative. Having integrity and being authentic are of utmost importance. Get feedback on how your message and behavior really come across to others. Avoid gossiping, playing favorites, keep confidences and deliver on the promises you make.

There is no doubt hat the work of modern-day leaders is complicated, stressful and demanding. By being open to working on your skill sets, not being afraid to be vulnerable and being true and authentic to yourself and your team, you will have their trust and your leadership deliverables will be more impactful and effective for you, your team and your organization.

Tell us what you think.  Tweet us @abetterleader or email us at bradp@projectionsinc.com.

Chris Craddock

As the leader of Projections' production team, Chris loves to inspire others to perform at the highest levels! From the most challenging leadership opportunities to brainstorming the latest topics leaders want to learn about, Chris provides clear direction and vision.