IT’S NEVER BEEN MORE DIFFICULT TO LEAD
While it’s never been more difficult to lead, it’s also never been easier to blame external forces for problems of our own making. Many of us are dealing with multiple layers of change and disruption, whether that be in our industry, organisation, division, team, role, personal life, or some combination of all of the above.
This disruption could be driven by the relentless march of new technologies, the transformation of traditional business models, political volatility, increasing accountability to more powerful and varied stakeholders, or the ongoing impact of Covid-19, among many other forces.
We are facing persistent levels of pressure and uncertainty at the very same time that we are expected to project greater confidence and certainty. Many of us are struggling to survive, let alone thrive. Even those of us who have achieved great ‘success’, often feel we’ve had to trade happiness, relationships or health to get it.
Our experience encourages us to focus on the external forces that inhibit our success; such as our competitive environment, government regulations, or impositions from head office. On the one hand, this focus in entirely understandable. On the other hand, it’s not very helpful; it encourages us to become helpless, destroy value and exhaust ourselves in the process. Perhaps more importantly, it’s a sentiment that is unsupported by the data. The root causes of our problems are not external to us. Here are just a few insights from two decades of research and practice, with some 20,000 senior executives, from more than 100 organizations on four continents.