How To Lead Through People Challenges

Leadership would be easy if we didn’t have to lead people… just ask any leader!

Yes, even after 20+ years of leading people, projects, meetings and new initiatives I still think that leading people is tougher than anything else.

It’s actually so bad that even educators say that…

Most of the problems that we face — within ourselves, in our relationships with other people, and in society — are caused by people. ~ Mark Leary

People challenges inside the organizations can be challenging, overwhelming and devastating. And when HBR came up with their survey results back in 2016, we learned that they can also get pretty expensive.

People challenges aren’t pleasant, yet they are a real part of leader’s life. Even best leaders are confronted, challenged, doubted and questioned. Loved by some, hated by others. Followed by some, despised by others.

Leadership isn’t an easy journey. It teaches you, stretches you, pushes you, but it also fulfills you.

There are things you need to lose and things you need to find during people challenges. Let’s look at how to lead through people challenges with confidence.

What to lose

In order to create new results, you first need to remove what isn’t working. There are many thing that can slow down your progress or completely halt organizational growth through challenging times. Most of them have to deal with the leader himself/herself.

  1. Ego – People challenges can teach you a lot about yourself and others – if you pay attention through the process.
  2. Defensiveness – Leaders don’t look for “I win you lose” outcomes. They work diligently to find solutions where everyone wins. It requires putting down your defenses and give people opportunity to speak up and be heard.
  3. Insecurity – Chances are it’s not about you. And if it is, feeling insecure is not going to help you resolve it. You must be secure enough to listen, speak up and resolve the situations. Choose to step into your leadership and exercise logic through tough situations.
  4. Resistance to change – I love this joke: “How many people does it take to change a lightbulb?” Answer: “Four. One to chang ethe bulb and three to talk aobu thow good the old lightbulb was.” Resistance to change will suck a lot of your time and energy without helping you to move forward.

What to find

Once you have space for new in your life, here are couple things that will help you walk through the struggles and start turning the situations around.

  1. Respect – For yourself and others. You can’t effectively communicate with those you don’t respect. Choose to honor people in front of you. No matter the situation. You have to love them before you can lead them. When people feel respected, they will follow your lead through tough situations.
  2. Commitment – You must commit to the successful outcome. It might require extra effort, time and energy to walk people through the challenging situations, but it’s absolutely necessary that you start facing people and situations one after another.
  3. Personal improvement – Over the years I’ve learned that it’s impossible to change other people (and trust me, I tried hard, haha). The only person you can change is yourself. And many times as you do so, you set an inspiring example for others to follow.
  4. Attitude – It is not what happens that determines your success in life. It is what you do with what happens that will make or break you. My friend and top leadership expert John C. Maxwell said it well: “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”

Life of a leader is an adventure. You learn, improve, yet you never arrive. I am happy to see you moving forward. Keep it up!

I believe in you!

Signature Silvia Pencak

PS: I work with leaders in my Impact Academy. Join us to become a better leader.

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