Leadership

future proof your career leadership training

3 major leadership challenges and how to overcome them

A lot of people think that being a leader is something that either comes naturally or it doesn’t. However, this is not the case. You can teach yourself to be a good leader. A good leader is someone who is able to effectively overcome all of the different challenges they face. A good leader is someone who learns from mistakes so that they can make improvements going forward. With that being said, below, we are going to take a look at three major leadership challenges, as well as providing some tips on how to overcome them.

Keeping your team motivated and inspired 

As a leader, your team is going to look to you for motivation. It is up to you to make sure that everyone working for you is inspired. There are going to be moments whereby people do not feel motivated. You may notice that productivity levels have dipped and that your team does not seem as interested anymore. It is up to you to spot the signs of this. If your employees are unmotivated, look for ways to keep their eyes on the prize. You can break tasks down into smaller jobs and celebrate small wins. You may even want to consider team building activities. 

Managing people without micromanaging 

Leaders can often fall into the trap of micromanaging. This is something that is incredibly easy to do. However, micromanaging can cause employees to feel frustrated and they will assume that you do not trust them. At the end of the day, your team has been employed for a reason; they have the skills and qualities that are needed to succeed. Therefore, you need to delegate tasks effectively. Do not delegate them on a first-come, first-serve basis. Instead, think about who is going to be most suitable for the task at hand. 

Dealing with conflict 

Last but not least, there is no denying that dealing with conflict is one of the most challenging things that any leader has to do. It is healthy for people to have different opinions. However, there does get to a point whereby this spills over, and healthy conflict turns into unhealthy conflict. When this happens, you need to look for ways for conflict to be healthy and constructive. As a leader, you need to make sure that any sort of conflict is steered toward a positive resolution.

Final words on major leadership challenges and how to overcome them

Now, we’ve hopefully given you an insight into three of the most common and difficult leadership challenges. All leaders face challenges in the workplace, and there are going to be times when you do not handle them as effectively as you should. Rather than punishing yourself over this, you need to make sure that you take the time to assess the situation and learn where you went wrong so that you can make better decisions in the future. We hope that the advice provided above will help with this. 

Should leaders always promote resilience?

The idea of resilience in the workplace is one that is both problematic and important. Leaders do have a need to improve their efforts on the resilience front – including targeted interventions like flexible work arrangements to things like paid leave and well-being resources. However it is important that at the same time they also remain vigilant to the downsides of this. It is important to not only understand but also address the pitfalls that can occur, and to know when they should, and should not, promote resilience.

Resilience pitfalls 

It is often considered that resilience is something that someone either has or doesn’t have and whilst it may be true that some individuals have “trait-like” stability to their resilience, that is the ability to demonstrate consistent levels of resilience over time, this is not always the case. When resilience is thought of this way the emphasis is placed on the employee and there is no consideration made to the support that an organisation should be providing. When there is an encouragement towards resilience with no accountability then it can result in burnout. 

Instead of thinking of resilience as a trait consider it to be a state that any employee is capable of attaining. This means creating environments that support resilience and proactively enable it. Employees need to feel that they can speak up and ask for the resources that they need in order to address any concerns that they might have. There are some circumstances however that it can be impossible to anticipate, such as the loss of a loved one or a period of severe illness and it is important that there are policies in place to address these situations as everyone’s resilience is different, and until these types of situation arise nobody knows how they will react. 

It should also be remembered that resilience should not be used as any form of replacement within the workplace, or indeed anywhere else for the removal of inequality. Anyone who has experienced any form of discrimination or racism should not be told to simply be more resilient, grow a thicker skin or “man-up”. The root cause of the issue should always be looked into in these types of cases. Every organisation should be creating a culture where acceptance, inclusion and diversity are the norms

Employees experiencing adversity shouldn’t be stigmatised

Positive emotions aid in the boosting of resilience, however, negative emotions do not, in fact, prohibit anyone from being resilient as well. When an individual is experiencing anxiety or is overwhelmed it is easy for them to be stigmatised and not look for the support that they need because they believe that they will be judged. Whilst this can become too much if a person is continually over-emotional, resilience is not an absence of negative emotions during difficult periods

Whilst leaders should promote some resilience in the workplace, it is important to understand that it is not always appropriate to do so, and each situation should be considered on its own merits before they decide which route they should take. 

business owner

The Biggest Challenges of Leading Remotely

It’s easier to manage and lead a team when everyone is in front of you, and you can see what is going on more clearly. Yet, with the change to hybrid and remote working showing signs of continuing, it’s essential to brush up on the skills of leading remotely. Of course, there are challenges, and here we take a look at what they are and what you can do to overcome them.

Setting clear expectations

Don’t assume that just because expectations in the office were clear this is the case for home or hybrid workers. You may need to give more direction and guidance, especially when it comes to what you expect when it comes to responding to communications and attending virtual meetings.

Avoid micromanaging. Instead, empower your team’s belonging and accountability, so they take responsibility for getting the job done without you.

Managing productivity

Whilst remote working can improve productivity for many workers; others will struggle. They may find it difficult to keep focussed and productive with home distractions and a lack of direct in-person supervision. Set realistic goals and innovative ways to track working time and progress to help keep them on track. 

You may also face the challenge of aligning expectations of those in the office with remote workers to manage perceptions and ensure resentment over production or perceived lack of it doesn’t build. Keep everyone in the office and home up-to-date on who is responsible and doing what.

Communicate regularly

With the ability to integrate and discuss matters freely around an office, it’s essential to make time for engagement and communication with those working remotely, and these tips may help. Set aside some times of the day when you are free to engage in short sessions with remote employees to catch up and share your calendar to let them know when you are available.

Cohesive teams

It can be challenging to treat both on-site and hybrid workers equally, but it’s essential to make everything as fair as possible. Differences can cause teams to break up through resentment and will affect productivity. Find ways to include remote workers if you provide free snacks or meals during meetings to office-based employees. Find ways to extend flexible working hours to remote workers if it’s a benefit afforded to on-site workers, or recognise that remote workers do not have the travel hassles of their office-based colleagues. There are no hard and fast rules but you should seek to remove any bias.

Social interactions

Remote workers are at risk of social isolation, and loneliness is one of the most common complaints, especially from those who had transitioned to home working when they previously came to your office each day. So it’s essential to be mindful and make ways to include socially those at home, grab a virtual coffee together and chat about things that aren’t work-related as you would over a typical office coffee break. Open a chat channel that is fun and is more about inclusion and socialising than work, listen to the concerns of both those in the office and at home, and be sure to follow up, just as you would do if everyone were together. 

Lastly, lead by example. The easier and more pleasant you make it, the more work everyone is likely to get through. Perhaps learn how to become more productive yourself and share insights and experiences with all your team members no matter where they are based.

virtual business mentoring

Can you mentor someone virtually?

Virtual literally became a reality with the changes demanded of us through the Coronavirus pandemic. Businesses quickly adapted to significantly reduced personal interaction levels and moved to video calls, meetings, and training by phone or video call.  For some, the benefits have been enormous and they see very little reason to return to old ways, so does this work for virtual mentoring?

Mentoring should support teams and individuals, which is even more critical when working remotely. The feeling of community is easily lost and individuals can suffer stress and feel isolated without it being noticed when they aren’t turning up to an office every day. The virtual world is one way to overcome this and mentoring can undoubtedly be as effective.

Virtual Mentoring Has Many Benefits Even Post-Pandemic

  • Location– remote mentoring immediately removes the location barrier. Virtual mentoring opens up the opportunity for relationships that would never happen in an office.
  • Time Efficiencies– No travel time and sessions can happen from anywhere, be scheduled more efficiently and cost less.
  • Less Social Pressure– Meeting with a mentor face-to-face can cause anxiety and nerves, especially for those with low self-esteem, which can inhibit some natural reactions and become a barrier to progress. Virtual mentoring can be a highly successful way of removing this stress to become a more comfortable and productive process. You can begin with phone calls and move to video calls at a pace that your mentee is comfortable with.
  • Multiple Mentors– Individuals can have multiple mentors through the new flexibility that virtual mentoring offers.
  • Quick To Put Into Action– Mentoring programs within offices tend to become large programs that take planning and big meetings. Virtual mentoring allows this to be scaled down and is much quicker to get up and running as a result.

Overcoming The Challenges of Virtual Mentoring

  • Forming A Connection–Wherever possible, encourage participants to use video calls, even if they start without the camera. It gives the option to switch on the camera as you form a connection without changing the basic meeting structure. Make time for the social side and use icebreaker games to get to know each other and become comfortable. Understanding how to mentor an anxious employee can teach skills valuable to all virtual mentoring encounters. 
  • Reducing the feeling of isolation – Mentoring programs have a sense of community that needs to develop even more strongly in virtual mentoring, whether to an individual or a group. Schedule a webinar for those involved before the program’s official start, encouraging participants to feel part of something. Have similar milestone meetings throughout the program to celebrate achievements and progress.
  • Technical Difficulties– You are bound to encounter some technical difficulties, so have a backup plan that everyone understands. Disruption can derail the flow and become frustrating. Check connections are stable before you start and resort to a phone call to get back on track if you can’t fix the issue speedily.

Mentoring may never become entirely remote and there is, we hope, no reason for that to be the case. Still, it is undoubtedly a productive and valuable addition to mentoring services that we see staying around.

building a successful business

Top 5 Leadership Books Of All Time

Effective leadership is arguably the holy grail of business and makes all the difference in whether a business thrives or merely coasts. Many books, papers and articles have been written on this topic over the years which creates the dilemma of which is likely to be informative and inspiring and which is destined for the recycling bin.

Read on for our selection on which leadership books are, in our opinion worth reading for insight and inspiration, whether you are an experienced CEO or just starting out on your leadership journey.

1 Learning to Lead by Ron Williams with Karl Weber

Growing up in segregated Chicago was no barrier to Ron Williams getting to the very top of his field in health care and this book sets out to share his personal philosophies as well as useful tips on how to put yourself in the right place at the right time to progress your career.

2 Excellence Wins by Horst Schulze with Dean Merrill

The hotel business is more than most subject to the vagaries and whims of passing trends and a successful hotelier is all too aware that the hotel business is only as good as the quality, enthusiasm and ideas of their employees. Former Ritz-Carlton president Schulze understands the power of a fully committed and engaged staff who contribute towards the success of a business when their ideas and experience are taken on board by managers.

3 Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

The two ex US navy seal officers who gained valuable leadership experience and more when they led special operations units during the Iraq war bring their unique perspective on how to structure your team for success. Strong leadership is essential whether in the field of war or otherwise and the authors illustrate perfectly how to lead under fire whether real or metaphorical.

4 The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis

How many of us have worked for a company or organisation where the management and leadership was at best sporadic or even non-existent and how many of us have been the ones gallantly struggling to keep things together for customers or other stakeholders. The Fifth Risk offers an insight into how much better and more successful an enterprise can be with the right leadership and support.

5 Leadership is an Art by Max De Pree

This book by the former CEO of the highly successful home and office furnishings company Herman Miller Inc is probably the definitive work on how to build the success of your business through not only hiring the right creative minds but also through placing trust in your employees and nurturing relationships. He makes the point that great leadership is not just about ‘wielding the big stick’ but instead building solid foundations from top to bottom.   

Whether you’re just starting out and unsure of your talents or whether you have innate, instinctive leadership skills we feel sure that there is always something to be gained from the wise words of those who have mastered the art. 

Managing Conflict With Those You Lead

Managing conflict or arbitrating through disagreements is never the fun part of being a leader. Still, even the greatest leaders have to understand how to handle conflict and, wherever possible, prevent it or manage it in such a way that workplace morale and productivity isn’t severely dented.

Conflict management is a crucial skill that every leader should acquire, and seeking mentoring, training and coaching services early in your career can help, as it can undoubtedly be challenging learning on the job.

Leadership and conflict management connections

Conflicts may not happen often, but you will undoubtedly lose the respect of your team if you don’t handle it correctly. You may lose the confidence of your superiors if it is found that conflict is severely damaging output and morale. Promoting employee happiness benefits everyone; as a leader, understanding potential conflicts you may face and strategies to handle them will help you maintain workplace harmony

You are primarily likely to face two different conflicts occurring. The first is personality clashes and conflicts between individual team members, and secondly, the conflict team members have with goals or demands placed on them or the methods required to meet those goals. 

To achieve goals, the team must understand not only the destination but also the route to get there. You will see better cooperation and achievement if methods used to complete a project successfully can be agreed upon.

Success requires clear communication both from the leader and the team. One of a leader’s primary responsibilities is to build a team that works well together and can handle differences of opinion without damaging the team’s overall well-being and usefulness. Undoubtedly, a team will comprise varying personalities, which is often essential to identify the best possible outcomes. Too similar characters can leave great ideas missed, so as a leader, you must have the ability to recognise potential conflicts and resolve them quickly. Understanding conflict management will help identify possible causes and give a chance to resolve issues before they occur or provide ways to resolve existing conflicts to ensure the team dynamics aren’t interrupted, and you keep a cohesive unit.

The benefits of sound conflict management for leaders

Even with differing opinions occasionally, a team that works together, successfully managing conflict, will achieve goals, develop strategies, and streamline processes more effectively if they are led well.

Look to assess the situation and only intervene when necessary. Some conflicts may resolve quickly without assistance. When a solution isn’t forthcoming, or the conflict persists, it is time to step in.

Create guidelines. If it is clear that certain situations always cause conflict, try establishing rules that help respectful conduct or use error accountability that defines expected behaviours and consequences when things don’t go to plan.

When you can recognise outside forces likely to cause conflicts, such as changes in work processes that may require additional support for some team members to adjust. In that case, you can establish a training program or offer support where appropriate to team cohesion. This may be enough to reduce the chances of conflicts occurring.

The essential tips for leadership conflict management are staying calm, impartial, and focusing on facts whilst maintaining boundaries. Set clear behavioural expectations and a way for team members to understand what a resolution looks like for each individual to enable the whole team to benefit.

Managing Conflict With Those You Lead

Managing conflict or arbitrating through disagreements is never the fun part of being a leader. Still, even the greatest leaders have to understand how to handle conflict and, wherever possible, prevent it or manage it in such a way that workplace morale and productivity isn’t severely dented.

Conflict management is a crucial skill that every leader should acquire, and seeking mentoring, training and coaching services early in your career can help, as it can undoubtedly be challenging learning on the job.

Leadership and conflict management connections

Conflicts may not happen often, but you will undoubtedly lose the respect of your team if you don’t handle it correctly. You may lose the confidence of your superiors if it is found that conflict is severely damaging output and morale. Promoting employee happiness benefits everyone; as a leader, understanding potential conflicts you may face and strategies to handle them will help you maintain workplace harmony

You are primarily likely to face two different conflicts occurring. The first is personality clashes and conflicts between individual team members, and secondly, the conflict team members have with goals or demands placed on them or the methods required to meet those goals. 

To achieve goals, the team must understand not only the destination but also the route to get there. You will see better cooperation and achievement if methods used to complete a project successfully can be agreed upon.

Success requires clear communication both from the leader and the team. One of a leader’s primary responsibilities is to build a team that works well together and can handle differences of opinion without damaging the team’s overall well-being and usefulness. Undoubtedly, a team will comprise varying personalities, which is often essential to identify the best possible outcomes. Too similar characters can leave great ideas missed, so as a leader, you must have the ability to recognise potential conflicts and resolve them quickly. Understanding conflict management will help identify possible causes and give a chance to resolve issues before they occur or provide ways to resolve existing conflicts to ensure the team dynamics aren’t interrupted, and you keep a cohesive unit.

The benefits of sound conflict management for leaders

Even with differing opinions occasionally, a team that works together, successfully managing conflict, will achieve goals, develop strategies, and streamline processes more effectively if they are led well.

Look to assess the situation and only intervene when necessary. Some conflicts may resolve quickly without assistance. When a solution isn’t forthcoming, or the conflict persists, it is time to step in.

Create guidelines. If it is clear that certain situations always cause conflict, try establishing rules that help respectful conduct or use error accountability that defines expected behaviours and consequences when things don’t go to plan.

When you can recognise outside forces likely to cause conflicts, such as changes in work processes that may require additional support for some team members to adjust. In that case, you can establish a training program or offer support where appropriate to team cohesion. This may be enough to reduce the chances of conflicts occurring.

The essential tips for leadership conflict management are staying calm, impartial, and focusing on facts whilst maintaining boundaries. Set clear behavioural expectations and a way for team members to understand what a resolution looks like for each individual to enable the whole team to benefit.

Managing Expectations When You’re Mentoring Someone Else

Mentoring always creates expectations for both parties involved, and it is important as both a mentor to understand which of those expectations you should reasonably expect to fulfil. While many believe that having a strong mentoring program within your business is most beneficial in improving workplace culture, how can you be sure there are no misunderstandings or disappointment, when it is felt by either party that expectations are not being met? 

We look at some tips to help you work out what is reasonable or unreasonable and how to set boundaries.

In the beginning

Before clarifying your mentor relationship with the person you’re mentoring, you should seek to answer some basic questions yourself. Entering into the initial mutual discussion understanding your own expectations and what you hope to achieve, as well as defining what you expect to be offered from the mentoring relationship will give you a good starting point. Once done you will be better placed to have the critical mentor meeting as you embark on the program. 

Understanding Expectations

Seek to answer these questions:

  • What do I expect of the other party?
  • What do I think they expect of me?
  • What are my expectations of the mentoring program?
  • What should the mentor expect of the mentored person’s immediate manager to support them to succeed in the program?

Once you have the answers, you have made progress to understand your own expectations. You should then seek to align these with your counterpart.

At the outset of the mentoring process sit down with the person you’re mentoring and discuss the expectations you have from the relationship, before you progress any further.  As the mentor you should lead the conversation, but you must allow space for the other person to articulate their needs and expectations.

Following these three steps will help you cover some of the key areas you need to clarify:

  1. As the mentor, state your expectations, and allow the other person to ask questions and clarify what is offered and what your expectation means.
  2. As a mentor you are seeking agreement on the expectation. Agreeing a common definition and understanding for every aspect of the mentoring partnership in advance will avoid potential confusion or feelings of resentment later through the mentoring program.
  3. If you cannot agree on any of the expectations or feel that they are not realistic at this time or are not appropriate, you can mutually decide to put them to one side to be revisited at a future time. As the program moves forward there may be a chance for agreement later on or for a mutually agreed adjustment.

As the mentor you are there to guide the person you’re mentoring through the targets and make progress as expected. This role is often used to foster career development, which is of benefit to both parties enabling them to grow within the business and as a person. However, sometimes employees may not progress in as short a time as you think they should, which could cause anxiety on both sides.  Understanding how to mentor an anxious employee is a useful skill to have, allowing you to manage their expectations and your own, so that things do not become problematic.  

questions about business success

What Does Being Rich Really Mean?

Whether you are curious or aspiring to live like the rich, this article will give you a few hints on how to become rich yourself.

Perhaps you’re just curious, perhaps you want to visit the richest places in the world, or perhaps you aspire to be so rich you can live amongst High-Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) – you never know you might find an angel investor amongst them for your small business. Whatever the case, we’re going to look at the richest places in the world to live.

We often read in the news about the richest 1% in the world, and more often than not we don’t get a ton of information because that amount of money buys you privacy and some might say, control over the press as well. However, there are certain things we can know, such as the places the richest people live. Not exact addresses of course, but areas where you find a high amount of rich people.

How Rich Are These People?

The richest 1% doesn’t mean that much, until you hear that not too long from now, those 1% will own more between them, than the rest of the world put together. This is a wealth that accounts for complete wealth, not the amount they earn. So a person’s wealth would be calculated by adding up all their assets minus any money they owe on mortgages and other different types of loans. We think of these people as having millions or billions, like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, but actually, anyone with over £530,000 counts as that 1% so it could just be someone who owns a few houses, or who has paid off their mortgage and has a few other assets. It’s hard for many ordinary people to image having that much money especially when living month-to-month and having to rely on credit cards, short-term loans or loans for bad credit history. According to finance specialist Solution Loans, many young people are even having to rely on parents to buy their first home and taking out guarantor loans so these super rich really do live in a differnet world.

These top 1% are mostly spread amongst 4 different countries in the world, with the US being inhabited by 18 million, France being inhabited by 3.5 million, the UK being inhabited by 2.9 million and Germany being inhabited by 2.8 million of the wealthiest few.

Germany is thought to be at the bottom of the list because less people own homes there.

Following these top four, both Japan and China have people in the 1% living there, with 1.5 million in China.

The country with the most HNWI in the top 1% in comparison to its overall population is Switzerland where one in ten people have assets worth over £635,000.

Looking To Join The 1%?

If you are looking to join the 1% in their wealth, there are lots of ways to get there. According to statistics this year, the highest paying jobs in the world are:

  • Solutions Architect who earns around £95,000
  • IT Manager who earns around £95,000
  • Integrated Circuit Design Engineer who earns around £100,000
  • Software Architect who earns around £101,000
  • Strategy Manager who earns around £103,000
  • Pharmacy Manager who earns around £103,000
  • Software Development Manager who earns around £104,000
  • Research And Development Manager who earns around £112,000
  • Lawyer who earns around £114,000
  • Surgeon who earns around £143,000

There are of course endless entrepreneurial opportunities to take advantage of, such as vlogging which could turn you into a millionaire within a year if you do it right. Looking to invest money? Apparently, gold is the best investment at the moment because it has kept the same value since time began.

Good Luck with your ventures!