When asked the question, “What are the top challenges facing leaders today?” Mike Sipple Jr. of Centennial shares: 1. Leaders need to redefine what “leadership” means to their organizations. They should be questioning, “What do we need in our organization today that we don’t have?” They should be educating themselves on what those needs are, and they should be redefining their leadership needs accordingly. What once determined an “A” player may not be the most important organizational need today. It’s important to understand and clearly define those needs. 2. Leaders need to be continually learning, changing and growing according to their organization’s needs. They need to be continually pushing outside of their comfort zone and discovering how they can make the greatest impact for their organization. It’s a constant “swim upstream,” where the best leaders aren’t just leveraging the strengths they know they have, but they are constantly learning about the strengths they didn’t even realize they had. A leader must educate themselves with good material; they must listen to good information; and they must meet new people they can learn valuable things from. It’s continuous improvement. 3. The best leaders will be those who, as opposed to relying solely on themselves, seek out advisors, coaches and accountability partners to help them learn, change and grow. I have always had wise advisors, who have held me accountable. I am always looking for people who can do something better than me. Leadership isn’t an island, and leaders should be seeking that wise counsel. 4. Employee engagement. Everyone is talking about it…very few are taking action. Leaders need to ensure their best people are highly engaged and have a sense of security, ownership, camaraderie and excitement for what their organization is about and the impact they are making. Today too many leaders have one foot in and one foot out of the proverbial revolving door. If leaders can get their employees truly engaged and ignite passion by involving them in the business and nurturing relationships both professionally and personally, it will help minimize disengagement and the revolving door syndrome. 5. Dealing with uncertainty and communication. Leaders need to have clear and concise communication to build trust and engage and motivate their employees, yet so few do this as they may not be 100% certain about the details. We encourage our clients to communicate versus leaving their leaders in the blind. By maintaining a high level of commitment to communicate, they create more security, resulting in higher levels of trust for employees. As Stephen M.R. Covey states in his book Speed of Trust: ”…trust is the one thing that changes everything. You want to make an impact on your organization and the leaders who run it….focus on building trust.” 6. Leaders need to look at and consider new ways of doing things. They should ask, Who are we? Who do we sell to? What should we focus on? They may need to look at distribution channels, sales channels, client diversification and more.
Changes May Need to Be Made
It’s possible that changes need to be made – perhaps changing the mix of product/service offerings, remaining with core expertise, forming alliances with other companies to outsource/partner to deliver the best quality and value to clients. Strengths should be considered and creatively leveraged. A version of this post originally appeared on the Centennial blog.