Five Tough Challenges

Expectations of leaders and aspiring leaders in business today have never been higher and the demands on them never been greater.

What are these expectations and demands?

How can senior executives get the support they need?

Check out these 5 tough challenges and ask do they resonate? Is there one in particular?

  • First … there is the sheer volume of work: significant number of tasks to accomplish and vast swathes of information to filter. Emails, phone calls, meetings, travel, conferences, presentations, reports, 24-hour connectivity; it’s not surprising if senior executives become exhausted.
  • Second … the pace of change and the levels of uncertainty surrounding business decisions have never been higher. In an IBM study (IBM Global Business Services 2010) 1,600 CEO’s worldwide believed that their businesses were more uncertain, more volatile and more complex. Executives who are used to striving for specific, measurable goals may not be so great at handling the ambiguity and fluidity that rapidly changing situations can bring.
  • Third … where companies used to run on a simple top-down command and control basis, it is now widely recognised that the best businesses are those that harness creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. The most effective leaders are those that participate in, encourage and manage collaborative teams. The knowledge and skills that worked in a leadership role yesterday may not be so useful today.
  • Fourth … leaders and aspiring leaders play a crucial role in engagement. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) defines engagement as “feeling positive about your job, as well as being prepared to go the extra mile and do the best of your ability.” Not surprisingly, engagement is linked to a wide range of positive outcomes. Engaged employees have higher levels of performance and lower levels of absenteeism; are more supportive of change and more resilient in the face of change. Two important drivers of engagement are for people to have opportunities to feed their views upwards and for people to feel well informed about what is happening in their organization. But a key driver of engagement is for people to think their leaders – especially their manager or line manager – is committed to the organization and cares about them.
  •  Fifth … a major study by Watson Wyatt: Connecting Organisational Communication to Financial Performance found that “a significant improvement in communication effectiveness is associated with a 29.5 per cent increase in market value.” And where should a significant proportion of responsibility for effective communication rest? You guessed it; once again, it’s the leader who needs to be communicating.

Becoming the leader you want to be: part 1

Becoming the leader you want to be: part 2

Becoming the leader you want to be: part 3