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Leadership Challenges: What’s Keeping Leaders Up at Night?

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Running a company can often feel like a solitary journey. It can be isolating and overwhelming at times. However, it's reassuring to know that you are not alone in facing the challenges, worries, and pressures that come with leadership. Our recent Mid-Market Business Research reveals that leaders in mid-sized companies in western Canada share common concerns and struggles.

In this article, we highlight the results of our third Annual Mid-Market Business Research. Through this, we identify the top challenges faced by leadership, and suggest what you can do about them.

Leadership Insomnia

As a leader in your firm, it’s your job to be focused on the future. While many in the organization are busy supporting the day-to-day operations, they rely on you to scan the horizon for opportunities, threats, and challenges. You are expected to establish the strategic priorities and change projects that ensure the ongoing success of the company.

But the future is uncertain! Predicting the future can feel like rolling the dice. And because the fate of the firm is in your hands, this can lead to stress, anxiety, and loss of sleep.

Fortunately, most leaders rely on leading indicators, market information, and emerging trends to give some indication of what the future holds. From that assessment, they get a pretty good picture of what is coming at least in the shorter term.

We’ve collected those assessments from over 300 leaders in western Canada. Download the report for the full analysis, including trends we've observed over the past three years.

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Top Challenges for Leaders

1 - Rising Costs
Annual inflation is higher than it’s been in decades. This has put more pressure on households to make ends meet. Employees are demanding higher wages, or they will go elsewhere. 

Other business inputs are becoming more expensive too. Raw materials and components, particularly those coming across the border, are more difficult and costly to secure. And the cost of capital is on the rise. Rising costs are now the number one biggest challenge for leaders, particularly when the research is isolated to just CEOs. 

2 - Accountability
Lack of accountability is one of the common leadership challenges mentioned by our clients. It also now holds the #2 spot within our research community. Low accountability increases surprises, drives poor performance, and can lead to client loss and employee disengagement.

3 - Finding People
Attracting great team members continues to be a top concern for leaders, though for the first time in three years it has been bumped from the #1 position. Leading a team of proven individuals is key to a strong leadership strategy. In any developed, service-based economy, having the right people who are highly engaged is a key competitive lever.

4 - Growth
Current success does not guarantee future success. Competitive forces and customer needs are constantly shifting. Knowing where to invest in the future and what will drive growth in the coming years remains a top challenge.

Leading a Successful Business in Uncertain Times

Leaders are not powerless. There are strategies that you can use to overcome leadership challenges. Great leaders maintain these practices to thrive in these uncertain times.

  1. Continuous improvement and retooling for efficiency to keep costs in check.

  2. Following a proven and nimble strategic planning process to adapt to changes and new information as it arises.

  3. Maintaining an attractive culture and work environment where the best employees want to be.

  4. Consistently using a proven hiring process to ensure great fit when new employees join the company.

  5. Ensuring that high accountability is understood and expected at all levels starting with the leaders themselves.

Unleashing the Potential of Your Organization

In today's volatile business landscape, leaders face a myriad of both external challenges and internal challenges. From rising costs and accountability issues to the complexities of finding the right people, the hurdles are many. However, effective leadership isn't just about identifying problems; it's about problem-solving and turning challenges into opportunities.

One of the most crucial leadership skills is communicating effectively, especially when it comes to delivering bad news. Transparency and honesty are key in such scenarios. Leaders must also excel in staying calm and focused during turbulent times, as a calm demeanour often helps in better decision-making and problem-solving.

Staying calm is not just a personal trait but a leadership role requirement. It sets the tone for the entire organization and helps in maintaining an environment where challenges can be discussed openly, and solutions can be found collaboratively.

Here at Results, we equip leaders with the tools, processes, and skills to unleash their organization’s full potential. Check out some of the downloads, articles and videos on our resources page including our Unleashed podcast series.

If you’d like to learn more about how to build and tackle challenges in leadership,  or other ways you can take the simpler path to creating a great business, connect with us or consider attending one of our upcoming leadership events.

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