Typical Workplace Challenges Faced by Leaders and Tips on Overcoming Them



Being selected for a leadership role in an organization is not only prestigious and rewarding but also extremely challenging. A good leader will, of course, be adept in his domain skills but additionally, he must possess a very high degree of interpersonal skills, be perceptive to the demands of the people under him, the company, as well as the environment. There are several organizational challenges that leaders have to be prepared to face and overcome if they want to be successful in taking their organizations to the next level of excellence. Some typical examples:

Pressure to Perform

The contemporary business environment is extremely competitive and tough and this can create a lot of pressure on all the employees to perform at their best day after day. As a leader, the pressure on your head is even more because you are responsible for the performance of the people reporting to you for a particular function. While you will need to deal with the pressure productively so that it can keep you charged to perform at your peak efficiency, you will also need to know how to relax and let your team members relax because nobody can keep on performing at the best without flagging. Allowing work-life balance is also very important, as, without it, the company will see a huge rate of employee attrition, which will also place your leadership ability under a cloud.

Dealing with Difficult People

Regardless of how good and motivated a leader you are there will always be a few members in your team who will not be easy to deal with. Even if they refuse to see logic or fairness of your decisions, it is necessary to deal with them with a kind but fair hand. Often the very people who dare to oppose you based on their convictions are the people who will prove to be very valuable in innovating and adopting a stance different from the usual when you are out of ideas. According to Forbes, teams need to have people with diverse backgrounds and divergent views to achieve success in the face of adversities. However, if there are troublemakers who can be bad examples for the rest of the team, you should not afraid to deal with them with a heavy hand regardless of how valuable their skills might be.

Letting Someone Go

As a leader, there will sometimes be situations when you have to let go of a person in your team. The reasons could be many reasons like underperformance, attitudinal issues, habitual absenteeism, medical issues, or even a business downturn that calls for reducing staff costs. Firing a person is never an easy job and you need to make sure that there is no alternative to it. It is important the decision to remove someone from your team be not made in a hurry without taking into consideration all the factors and without consulting the person being removed. Most importantly, such decisions should not be taken in a fit of anger or because of a clash of egos. Your leadership qualities will become evident in the way you present the case as an opportunity for betterment for both the organization and the team member.

Delivering Bad News

Some things will succeed and certain things are destined for failure despite best efforts. The reason for a plan of a product failing is not necessarily incompetence of the people handling it – the ground realities may have changed suddenly and it may not be worthwhile to expend any more time, effort, and money to make it work, according to a senior consultant at Liberty Lending, a leading private lender. However, it still leaves the leader the rather unpleasant but essential task of informing the senior management of the company as well as the team involved in the decision not to pursue the idea anymore. A true leader must be able to present the facts with clarity and without getting emotional or even trying to pin the blame on to someone else.

Staying Motivated

As everyone knows, the biggest challenge in an organization is to keep everyone charged up so that they are enthused to deliver performance at the fullest potential. However, there are many situations, especially when the market conditions are tough or a product is taking too long to reach its intended performance benchmarks when keeping up the level of motivation is a big challenge. This is the time when a good leader reaches deep within him to muster all the energy and enthusiasm that he has to refocus on the job at hand. The main task in this situation is not to let the blues overtake you and infect the rest of the team but to go ahead the fix the things that you can fix and work around others that are not in your control. Despite all adversities, you need to remain the cheerleader of your team and inspire your team to get back on track without letting the eagerness flag.

Managing Multicultural Issues

With the sort of global footprint, many businesses have, it is not uncommon for teams to comprise of members belonging to different countries, background, and cultures. Often behavioral norms could be a major difference and there could be communication issues that might undermine the efficiency and team spirit of the group. As a leader, people will look to you to resolve these issues so that the overall performance is not affected. You have to hunker down and quickly assess the real reasons behind the problem and then use all your skills to resolve it in such a way that there is no acrimony in the group. Setting a personal example in work ethics and discipline is very important and you must be ready to walk the talk.


Being an effective leader is one of the hardest tasks in the world. There are no set rules for resolving issues because there are no standard situations and challenges. As a leader, your first and foremost task is to build a cohesive team of enthusiastic, free-thinking, innovative yet disciplined members who will gel well with each other and be able to work together to realize a common objective. To this end, a leader will have to be motivational, a disciplinarian, as well as serve as a bedrock of ethical values.


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