“Constantly engage issues to resolve them. Don’t breed fungi. Spray them. Don’t keep them.”
A leader must be ready for this. The leader grows, preparing to go through the day with challenges. Without this mindset, leaders would give up along the way. The underpinning point is the internal motivation not to give up. Always be prepared. Just as obstacles, challenges are meant to be surmounted. Challenges are always waiting and are abound. Just deal with them. Don’t go round them. Always be on your feet. Issues must be crushed. The Leader must be well toughened to fix issues by surmounting all forms of challenges. In confronting issues, the leader would be overwhelmed and engulfed in all forms of issues and melodramas. At the workplace, some would want to do you in. Some may deliberately attack you mentally, emotionally and physically. Some may question your competence, intelligence and of course your way of thinking. Remember that there is no heartbreaks. I mean don’t get broken hearted. In its real sense, you have to experience a lot of confrontations on your journey to the top. You need this in Leadership development.
As a leader, invoke your three key arms to confront challenges. Taking responsibility for your actions and inactions, taking ownership of situations and taking decisions ready to be defended at all times. The word is ‘taking’. As a principle, you can only take that you’ve given. In other words, in confronting challenges, you’ll be taking back something you’ve already unleashed. It could be anything. Be careful how you do spit venom. You may have to take it back. You are not a dog to eat your vomit. You are a leader. Be mindful of what you say. Be mindful of what you take back.
A leader does not run from issues. He stays and deals with them. The Yoruba’s of Nigeria say that ‘before you get carried away by the river, you have to drink half the river’. To the point, if you set your hands at it, go with it. Just don’t go down easily. Otherwise, you can’t confront issues at the workplace. If you need to go in hard, just go in hard. In dealing with issues, jaws will be dropping, ribs will be broken, teeth may be lost and above all ‘enemies’ will be created and most of the time valued friendship may be lost. The Leader would have to get the job done and come back to mend friendships. The main block when reviewing leadership, comes under problem solving. Some lie to get results, some frisk to get job done, some fight their way through, some lobby while some lick-boots. Read more on power tactics, from any good book on Organizational Behavior and Leadership. In all these, bear in mind that the brain has the control. Have a tough mind. No pussyfooting.
Be well equipped up there as a Leader and get experience on the job. Challenges are easily confronted. Just do not repeat same mistakes over and over again. Otherwise you may not be learning. Do not expose your ignorance continuously. Read to lead. Constantly engage issues to resolve them. Don’t breed fungi. Spray them. Don’t keep them.
Approach to dealing with issues should be spot on and tactical. Do not linger matters on. Learn to be of value. Your decision may not be the best but it should address the issue and not make it worse. This may sometimes appear tricky and slippery because it is difficult to clean grey areas. The whole point is that dry cleaners may also be expensive. So get hands-on and deal with issues. Don’t be lazy. Get off your bum (sorry). Meet challenges, do not fight them. Control them and make them yours. That’s how leaders confront challenges. Be selfless. Selfish colleagues always have issues to contend with.
Listen, listen and listen. Learn to do this and do it very well every time. Polish your listening skills. It is one of the keys to perfecting communication skills during conflict resolution at any level. If you listen well, you respond very well. Confronting challenges is all about knowing yourself, knowing the situation and knowing your audience. Assessing these three separately and respecting them in blocks dissipates all forms of challenges.
There’s a story about fighting everybody to confront challenges. The story ended that all blocks were crumbled only to find nobody in the end. Confronting challenges starts with you and ends with you. You are the challenge to be confronted. Deal with yourself first. I once shared with a team of participants in a corporate training that if you are able to deal with yourself, you can deal with everybody else. People will heckle you at the office. Situations may change. Some will call for your ‘head’. Just know that they are just storms. They won’t last. Just get working on yourself to confront challenges. Drop that shoulder pad. Lower that shoulders. Respect others and get respected. Attitude beget attitude. Pray for the eye of understanding. It helps you see through yourself.
Organizations have really struggled to bring all employees at shore in confronting challenges. Some have argued that good communication: formal and informal, is the catalyst in building lasting teams, at the workplace. Learn to live in teams. Learn to deal with teams. Above all, learn to live to deal with yourself in teams. Confront challenges.
For this is Leadership!
Author: Richard Kwarteng Ahenkorah
Principal Trainer, Eagle Knowledge Institute || Author: Your Journey To The Top