Limited Support from Management

This obstacle can signal poor internal communications. Where such a gap exists, there is limited control. Individuals at the lower echelons of the organization feel left out and sense they have to fend for themselves. Although there are instances where some groups may relish the idea of being left on their own, the overwhelming majority need to know that senior management is fully aware of their plans and strategies.

They need to know that timely support is available in such areas as approving investments, shifting resources to secure a favorable competitive position, launching a product, or improving customer services. In addition there are the sudden bursts of activity from a competitor that could be blunted if backup were provided rapidly. Here, again, open communication through any number of technology forums and face-to-face meetings can eliminate the barrier.

Conflicts Concerning Objectives, Priorities, and Strategies

Here is the perennial issue that can form an obstacle to effective leadership. This is especially so where individuals in your group cannot agree on prioritizing objectives and agreeing on strategies. Of course, as a senior manager you can arbitrarily override conflicts and make the choices.

If that approach is taken, you may have to mend hurt egos and placate others. Where you act as a mediator and let the individuals resolve their issues, you still have to deal with the hard decisions, especially where there are budgetary constraints and limited resources. In such instances, you will still have to intervene and decide among many business proposals, all of which are vying for attention.

Inevitably, some plans are going to get dropped or modified, as others get the go-ahead. In the end, leadership is accepted or rejected, as shown above, on the perception your staff has about your ability to make effective decisions.

Keep one’s head at times of exceptional stress. Strength of character does not consist solely in having powerful feelings, but in maintaining one’s balance in spite of them. Even with the violence of emotion, judgment and principle must still function like a ship’s compass.


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