5 common executive challenges

Is one of these holding you back? Executives exhibit a wide range of styles of operating but we see some pitfalls showing up across many of these styles. These pitfalls could be a blindspot – something of which the person is unaware – or just an area of avoidance. Whatever the reason, each of them has the potential to hold you back from even greater success that you’re already achieving.

Do you recognise any of them as being part of how you’re operating at present?

1. Not stretching your team to its full potential

If you don’t trust your team to take care of the detail as well or better than you would, you’ll get sucked backwards into operational work, which robs you of the time to think and act strategically.

2. Hiring for potential that doesn’t materialise

You will regret the people you don’t fire far more than the people you hire. Having the wrong person taking up headcount and not delivering as you need, will also suck you backwards into operational engagement.

3. Managing time so that you also have a life

Many people feel more comfortable, in control and fulfilled in the office. It’s easier to measure your value-add in that environment. This can result in spending more time than necessary in the office. It’s not impressive and will detract from your ability to leave a legacy in the world. By employing the right people and managing them effectively, you should be able to schedule your time so that you can be who you’re meant to be in the world – far more than just a hard worker. You have no one to blame but yourself for poor time management. Be honest about whether you’re putting appropriate boundaries in place.

4. Avoiding tough conversations

Global statistics show that executives tend to score low on managing conflict. The reason for this is a lack of the ability to have an honest, non-emotional, non-confrontational conversation about the impact of a behaviour of a lack of delivery in some area. If you’re able to say clearly that, “Your non-delivery in this area is having this effect on me or our team” and come up with a joint plan to address whatever is lacking or unsatisfactory, you’ll save a great deal of time and unnecessary emotional energy.

5. Achieving high performance

Using the Tuckman model, which categorises team behaviours at Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing enables you to see clearly at what level your team is operating and to put actions in place to break down silos and build a culture of high performance. Allowing people to operate as islands will not serve you.

Pat Roberts is a Partner at Change Partners.

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