Leadership is often discussed in this utopian fantasy, whereby someone learns that they too can be a leader and people see the value, buy the vision, and follow with appreciation and everyone is elevated. In this fantasy, the leader does all the things they learned; they’re productive and they appreciate their people and yet, instead of clear roads ahead, their leadership journey is riddled with speed bumps.
The following are three common speed bumps and simple solutions to help get over the bumps.
People around you don’t buy into the same vision.
You can see how you and the people around you can achieve your mission and be collaborative. Yet, some people don’t want to collaborate. What can you do about it? Stay the course, stay true to your vision, and stay grateful. For those individuals who don’t share the same vision and collaborative spirit, I think there is an opportunity to continue to share the benefits of the vision and to be grateful that as the leader, you understand the benefits and can share those, as it strengthens you and your work. People come and go, so at the end of the day, it comes down to a few of basic questions.
Will changing course help you achieve your vision?
Is it the right thing to do? Can you live with it?
People who you were leading, get the promotion.
Because you’re busy leading/managing people and giving people opportunities to succeed, that’s what they’ve done—and you’ve been successful in helping them. It doesn’t feel great sometimes when the people you were leading get the new job or the promotion, but as a leader, you should think of your ability to influence, not just the promotion. People remember people who succeed and will share how they got to where they’re at, which includes you. It might take time, but people will appreciate and recognize those contributions.
People are looking to you for answers and you don’t have them.
When people recognize you as a leader (informal or formal) and they need answers, you want to have them but it’s not always possible. You don’t want to let your people down. So what happens when you don’t have the answers? Don’t fake it; no one has all of the answers. You’re not letting people down (yourself included), by wanting to obtain reliable information so that people can make well-informed decisions. Perhaps this is an opportunity to brainstorm or perhaps there’s a resource that you can ask who does have the answers. Does someone in the group you’re leading or in your network have information that would help? That can be an opportunity for them to be more visible and to showcase their knowledge. There’s an opportunity to lead in not knowing and you’ll be better regarded for facilitating the information than faking it.
Though it’s not always an easy journey, the message that I want to leave you with is this: stay the course and trust in your abilities as a leader. No one is perfect but if you’re willing to grow, you will be successful. Don’t abandon the destination for a few speed bumps or potholes along the way.