Challenges faced by new leaders
Many people experience challenges when they become a leader. But what exactly is leadership? Broadly – it’s an influencing process. An influencing process involving imagining future possibilities for the organisation, figuring out strategies to achieve those possibilities and engaging followers to act of their own free will to achieve the changing goals of the organisation. Nothing could be easier, right?
The reality is that most new leaders understand leadership is a role, however, the complexities the new leader will face are often underestimated. A good example of this occurs when a staff member, highly proficient in the technical aspects of their job, is promoted into a leadership role, often without any suitable training. The general view here is that a high level of capability in a particular job must automatically translate into a high level of skills as a leader. This is a gamble at best. In fact, a good leader has to be very effective in areas outside the technical aspects of the work. They must exercise a high level of interpersonal skills and have the ability to manage group dynamics to be successful – skills a person new to the job of being the leader may not even be aware of.
‘No one told me that dealing with people issues and egos, motivating staff, or setting down goals (for the team) to work towards were that important. It ended up being mostly what I did each day. I was a bit lost at first.’
– Ben, Energy Supply Industry
The good news is that leadership skills can be learnt. Leaders don’t have to be born – leaders can be made. Firstly, identify your current leadership competencies, then determine the gaps. Once you have an understanding of the gaps, work to fill those gaps through learning and applying that learning every day. A small improvement could have a huge impact on your success as a leader, both now and in the future.
How well do you rate yourself currently in some of these areas? Can you notice any areas for improvement?
- initiating activity
- adapting to change
- creating and innovating
- communication, listening and support
- managing and working in teams
- building relationships and trust
- planning, organising and prioritising goals
- persuading and influencing
- motivating and empowering
- coaching others
- coping with pressure
You can successfully transition into a leadership role and navigate the complexities through learning. Take deliberate action to become adept at leadership and learn good leadership behaviours.
Whether you manage a rock band, a team of rocket scientists, a small team, or a cast of thousands – they all need someone who can provide direction, guidance and a sense of purpose. They need a person that is willing and confident to take on the overall responsibility for their activities and in turn, their achievements. They also need someone who can inspire them, empower them and lead the way.
That person can be you!