What major challenges are leaders up against these days?


What major chal­lenges are lead­ers up against these days?

Part of the series:

Ian Watson and Elizabeth Lovius riff­ing on life as a lead­er


- So, Elizabeth, what do you think lead­ers are up against these days?

- Leaders are up against a lot of com­pet­ing pri­or­it­ies which cre­ates an enorm­ous amount of feel­ings of stress and pres­sure and what should I be doing? They’ve got to look after people, they’ve got to look after res­ults. They’ve got to oper­ate in a chan­ging world, in a chan­ging envir­on­ment. I’d say one of the very com­mon things that lead­ers exper­i­ence is a sense of over­whelm and where should I be focus­ing my energy.

- Mm-hmm. So there, and we’re talk­ing about lead­ers, entre­pren­eurs, these are people who, they’re pas­sion­ate about what they do, usu­ally. They’re look­ing maybe to make a dif­fer­ence in the big­ger world, not just in their own com­pany. But often they find them­selves get­ting either over­stretched or bogged down or going through some kind of trans­ition phase. They have to expand rap­idly, this kind of thing, yeah?

- Yes.

- And, obvi­ously, that has an impact on things like per­son­nel and you know staff­ing and so on so forth. But indi­vidu­ally, what do you find when you speak to people, what do they actu­ally struggle with intern­ally?

- I think they really want to find a way to do the right thing, both for them­selves, for the people that work for them, and for the com­pany that they work for. I think most people are well inten­tioned, but I think espe­cially lead­ers, they feel the bur­den of respons­ib­il­ity of that. I think that’s true.

- Yeah.

- And they’re often find­ing them­selves hav­ing to nav­ig­ate uncer­tainty and change. And I know that that’s some­thing that you are really inter­ested in and have done a lot of work with over the years, people in trans­ition and change. What do you think really helps people in that kind of situ­ation, that trans­ition­al situ­ation.

- Yeah, there’s a couple of things I’ve seen. One is that people often get frightened by the unknown. That’s one thing that I have noticed. And there’s a tend­ency to want to stay with what you know, stay with what’s famil­i­ar, des­pite the fact that there’s a require­ment to go into the unknown. You’re expand­ing your busi­ness. It’s unknown. It’s unknown ter­rit­ory. So that’s one thing, hand­ling that fear. You know, hav­ing a rela­tion­ship to that nat­ur­al fear or anxi­ety that might come up around the unknown such that it doesn’t get in the way. It doesn’t stop the per­son from doing what they need to do. Another thing that I’ve seen is there’s a kind of almost like a death and a rebirth that has to hap­pen. Someone’s going through a major trans­ition in a way they have to let go of maybe a way of oper­at­ing in life that might have served them well up to this point but it might not be up to the job in terms of what’s required now. Often that hap­pens, obvi­ously, when people go from let’s say one pos­i­tion in a com­pany to anoth­er. And sud­denly they’re required not just to put on a dif­fer­ent uni­form let’s say but also a dif­fer­ent approach, a dif­fer­ent atti­tude. Has to bring things, dif­fer­ent things have to come forth from with­in that per­son that they might not have had to made use of before. They might not even know that they have that with­in them before. So it’s, it has to do with con­nect­ing with the deep­er poten­tials that people have inside of them and being will­ing to step into that space without any guar­an­tee. Because you can’t pre­dict ahead of time how it’s going to work out obvi­ously.

- And how do you help people and lead­ers in that situ­ation? How do you help them do that?

- Well, what I know for sure is that every­body has got a place with­in them that they can con­nect to that’s already there where they can know that they’re okay, first of all. Where they can feel at peace with­in them­selves. Where they can settle down, and they can for­get about whatever’s on their mind at least moment­ar­ily. And they can come back to a place where they have a cer­tain clar­ity, a cer­tain cer­tainty. Some people would call it just an inner know­ing that this I know now. You might not know what’s needed next week or next year, but there’s a way that people can learn to nav­ig­ate by get­ting settled with­in them­selves, just get­ting present and see­ing what they can do now in this moment. That’s one thing that I’ve found help­ful.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.