Leadership juggling challenges

Alison Budden | Director | MCA group

Leading others can sometimes feel overwhelming. At times this can be as challenging as trying to juggling multiple balls in the air while walking on a tightrope or balance beam.

Today’s leadership environment

Now more than ever leaders need to become even more adept at such juggling. In doing so, they need to balance the expectations and needs of the organisation with those of the team they lead, and their own needs.

In 2023, leaders are in an environment in which there is a broadening of expectations, from workers, upline executives and regulators. This includes the wants and expectations of many workers to continue to work from home (WFH) with hybrid arrangements.

The flow on of this being that leaders need to continue to develop their skills to lead a dispersed workgroup effectively. New legislation centered on the risks of psychological hazards and harm in the workplace have come into effect. This brings increased obligations on the employer, and the whole leadership cohort across the organisation, to provide a safe work environment and to foster a positive workplace culture.

This delicate act of juggling requires leaders to possess a unique set of skills and qualities. Leaders must have a deep understanding of the overall goals and objectives of the organisation. Leaders need to be able to translate these high-level aspirations into actionable plans that can be executed by their team.

At the same time, leaders must also prioritise the needs and attend to the well-being of their team members. This requires them to foster strong relationships, actively listen to individual and collective concerns, and provide support when needed.

The leadership challenge

The leadership challenge has never been simple. Leaders who are both self and other aware have always been the better jugglers. These are also those leaders who are open to growth, change and challenge.

Now, it is even more important that leaders:

  • Conduct themselves impeccably
  • Create a positive and cohesive work culture
  • Communicate effectively at the individual and team level; with their own team and with their peers, upline reports and other stakeholders
  • Consider individual work arrangement requests, and the personal situation and developmental needs of their direct reports
  • Respond to expectations of their team members for reward and recognition, both individually and collectively
  • Bring together and sustain a connected and collaborative team, whether co-located or more dispersed
  • Look after their own health and wellbeing, taking account of their own personal circumstances and life beyond work

All of this whilst they remain focused on the strategic and/or operational outcomes they and their team are expected to deliver.

It’s a big ask.

It remains a satisfying role that brings many of its own rewards and, for most, a salary package reflective of the level of responsibility contemporary leaders hold.

Improving leadership juggling skills

Even the best, high performing leader needs to have support to remain effective.

Leadership expert Simon Sinek captured one of the core elements well when he said, ‘I don’t believe anyone is an expert in leadership – we’re all students’.   

Leadership coaching provides a personal space for leaders to work with a trusted person, who is not part of their team, direct upline or other reporting arrangement. The coaching relationship is most effective where a high degree of trust is established. In our work we focus on developing this.

The focus of leadership coaching may include:

  • unpacking your current challenges
  • reflecting on your options available for action
  • testing your thinking and perspective, including assumptions and unconscious bias that may be in play
  • focussing on and attending to your needs

You can’t lead effectively if you are overloaded and over-stretched. Time out and time in, to breathe and reflect, enables your brain to recharge and keep firing. In our coaching, we will encourage you to check in and critically review your self-care and your own needs.

Leadership coaching can assist you to determine appropriate strategies or actions to take, conversations you should have, broader communications, and other elements of your role. All of this will support you in your decision making and overall leadership.

Juggling, whilst a skills development challenge, is also recommended by many as a way to relieve stress.

Would you like to know more about leadership coaching for effectiveness?

If you are ready to take action to support your own leadership or that of others in your team, contact us at https://mca-group.com.au/contact or call 1300 856 480.