Overcoming challenges is a key role of a leader. You set the tone by acknowledging the problem, identifying solutions, and who is needed to fix the problem, as well as determining the best course of action.
Leading when things are going well is fun and exciting, as we work toward our goals, making the vision reality. However, when there is a bump in the road, the skills and abilities of a leader are tested in ways you may not have anticipated.
How do you tell your team? What do they need to know and when? How can you use this challenge as a way of growing relationships within our team and with other stakeholders?
Mirror Mirror on the Wall
Looking in the mirror is the first step when addressing a challenge. Self-awareness is critical to effectively dealing with challenges in your business and your personal life. When we look in the mirror, we can identify and deal with our role in the challenges we are facing.
Three Key Questions
Ask yourself these three key questions when dealing with a challenge in your organization.
- What role do I, as a leader, have in this challenge?
- What is the genesis of this challenge and how do I, as a leader, need to deal with it?
- What part of this challenge is my doing?
Self-awareness is critical to leading in good times. It’s even more important in difficult times. You must remember that it is possible that you have some responsibility for this challenge and that it is also possible that your reaction to it is making things more difficult for your team.
Dealing with Unproductive Behaviors
Overcoming challenges is the time when our most difficult personal issues can expose themselves. Unproductive or destructive behaviors often come out during challenging times, sabotaging efforts to deal with the challenge.
In my personal experience, the times when my most difficult behaviors came to the fore was when things were most challenging. Recognizing your role in the challenge takes courage. You may not be the genesis of the challenge, but your response in resolving it influence how your team responds.
Unproductive or destructive behaviors can make your challenge even worse. This is where safe people come in. Who are the people you can turn to for honest feedback? Have you developed a small group of safe, trusted advisors who will tell you the truth when you go off track? Turn to these trusted advisors to develop self-awareness through their feedback. You’ll get the feedback you need to truly see your role in the challenge.
Developing a small circle of trusted advisors helps you identify and overcome destructive behaviors. This process is well worth the time invested in protecting the team and organization you’ve built. Choose these advisors well and you’ll reap the benefits over time.
How do you manage your actions as a leader in challenging times?
What strategies have you found helpful to gain self-awareness?
Who are your trusted advisors?