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Six Common Challenges That Can Prevent You From Being an Effective Leader

John, a colleague, recently told of a leadership lesson he learned from his four-year-old granddaughter. Here’s what he wrote:

“It was a Saturday afternoon, and I was spending time with my four-year-old granddaughter. We were in the family room playing a game, and she wanted my undivided attention. I was going through the motions of playing the game and being with my granddaughter, but my mind was a million miles away. That’s when she turned to her grandmother and asked, ‘What’s wrong with Papa?’ Her grandmother quickly responded, ‘Your Papa’s body is home from work, but his mind is still at work!’”

John then confesses that his wife’s comment shocked him, even though he knew he was a driven leader. His mind never stopped working. When speaking with someone on the phone, he thought about his next task. When visiting with someone in his office, he continued working explaining that he could multitask. He would do the same at meetings.

Arriving at work the following Monday, John sought out a trusted peer and shared his experience.

“He was quick to point out that the lack of focus, attention and awareness that I demonstrated with my granddaughter is repeated every day at work,” said John. “I had become efficient in getting work accomplished at the cost of not being effective when communicating with others.”

Recognizing the accuracy of what he was told, John took the first step toward improvement.

“Being in the moment is a choice one makes,” he said. “That day, I made a commitment that I would make every conversation with another the most important action of that day.”

John made his commitment ten years ago, and he says he still has to make daily conscious decisions to fully engage when communicating with others.
After reading John’s article, I immediately looked in the mirror and asked, “Are these things I do?”

I know I’m assertive. I know I’m a very take-charge person. I know I often move at lightening speed. My actions must affect people around me much like John’s affected the people around him.

Indeed for many of us, what seems to be an advantage may present a challenge as well.

An extremely decisive leader, for example, may alienate followers by failing to consult them, or by consistently ignoring their advice.

Similarly, a leader who’s gifted at developing relationships with others, may find it difficult, even impossible, to tell someone she’s not doing her job.

So how do you balance advantage with challenge? How do you face your own personal issues to make sure they don’t prevent you from being a good leader?

The first step is to recognize and acknowledge the tendencies or attitudes that get in your way.

Here are a few challenges to help get you thinking:

This list is far from complete, but it includes some very common stumbling blocks.

The question now is: What tools do you need to cope with these internal challenges? Here are a few I rely on:

Here’s the bottom line. Lots of leaders don’t bother identifying their challenges, much less learn how to cope with them and use them to their advantage. They don’t recognize that they themselves are the problem.

Too bad. Leadership can be a difficult and lonely road. It can also be an exciting and rewarding journey if you shoulder the responsibility it confers. Part of that responsibility is to improve those aspects of yourself that can keep you from being an effective leaders.


Your Solution Toolbox: How to Get 360-degree Feedback

Measuring What Matters
To become a strong leader, you must identify and acknowledge the tendencies or attitudes that get in your way, and work to overcome them. For this, you need reliable feedback.

Enter Profiles CheckPoint 360º Feedback System.

Profiles CheckPoint 360º Feedback System provides you with feedback from your supervisor, employees and peers—people who observe your performance. With this specific, job-related information, you can clarify issues and misunderstandings, and make positive changes.

You can use the self-knowledge you gain from this instrument to:

You can also use this assessment to grow effective leaders, build your talent bench, guide leaders through career transitions, develop top talent and use leadership development to enact key changes in your business, and increase leadership accountability. 
Of course, you and your leaders, must be open to this feedback and willing to respond positively. Given this willingness, however, CheckPoint 360º will positively impact not only individual growth but your organization’s success.

If you are interested in learning more about Profiles Checkpoint 360, call me today at 952-322-3330 or send an email to

HR Consulting
Call me, too, if you are looking for professional assistance with your personnel questions. We'll help you learn how to: 

Let’s Talk! We offer a no obligation consultation to informally assess your current policies, procedures, and practices. This may help determine what’s missing in your current programs to meet the above recommendations.  Call 952-322-3330 or send an email to

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