4 Dilemmas You Have to Overcome to Be a Better Leader

4 Dilemmas You Have to Overcome to Be a Better Leader

John Eades 25/05/2018 7

It didn't take long for a new employee to ask the question, "Why do we even have Quarterly Business Reviews? No one likes them and most people feel worse about themselves when they are over." It caught me off guard because I expected the question from a long standing team member, but not from a newbie. I paused and thought, "Do I defend our QBR's to the death, stop them immediately, or evaluate their format and/or delivery method?"

This is a perfect example of a leadership dilemma in today's modern business environment. Leaders like you and me are being stretched by our people to rethink outdated leadership approaches to better align with the demands of our people and to ensure everything we do as leaders helps increase their performance. So it got me thinking, what are some common modern leadership dilemmas and how should leaders manage them? Here are 4 dilemmas modern leaders are facing and how to manage them in order to be a better leader:

1. The team doesn't seem motivated or engaged. Are they just lazy and entitled?

A recent Gallup study showed only 29 percent of millennial employees are engaged at work. Instead of hiding behind some "millennial stereotype," it's worth exploring the real reason why your team isn't motivated or engaged.

The number one reason people aren't engaged or motivated is because they don't know why they are doing what they are doing beyond making a paycheck. It's been proven that organizations and leaders who lead with purpose, mission, vision and values not only get better results but they have a more engaged workforce.

If this is your dilemma, it's time you connect purpose with the work your people are doing.

2. We aren't hitting our growth targets. This guy or girl is to blame.

It's easy to point fingers. Each individual has responsibilities, but instead of blaming others first, the person you should always look to is the person in mirror.

The moment you take personal responsibility for everything that happens on your team is when you have a real chance to hit growth targets. Next time, ask yourself: Could I have assisted a team member more effectively by providing better tools, better talent, better resources, or better coaching? This doesn't mean you shouldn't evaluate people based on their performance, but when challenges arise, look at yourself first.

If this is your dilemma, start with taking personal accountability prior to ever pointing the finger.

3. My top performer gets the job done, but his actions and attitude hurt our culture. What do I do?

One of the biggest mistakes I have seen in my career is allowing top performers to control and flat out dismantle a team's culture. On a recent episode of the Follow My Lead Podcast, Jason Barger said: "We all are ambassadors for the culture we want to create." At the end of the day, it's your job to set the example for the culture you want to create and then ensure all members of the team are onboard and share responsibility.

If you allow a top performer to negatively affect the organization's culture, don't blame the top performer, blame yourself. Get used to serving your people's hearts and not serving their talent. You can replace the results with future hires or better teamwork with that person removed.

If this is your dilemma, be frank with your top performer about getting on or off the bus.

4. The team seems burned out, but we don't have time to give them a break.

In today's "what have you done for me lately" environment, it's easy to feel like you can't take a break. Truth be told, by not taking a break, you are actually hurting your performance. A recent study showed taking breaks, even small ones, can dramatically improve your performance. Whether the break is a week-long vacation, a 20-minute walk around the block, or a 5-minute tea break, they can be used as massive advantages.

If this is your dilemma, encourage your team to take breaks or even a shot vacation even when the heat is on.

Now I am sure you are thinking, what did I do about the Quarterly Business Reviews? We no longer have them, as we are constantly holding each other accountable to each other weekly team meetings (myself included). These are just a few dilemmas modern leaders face everyday, what have I missed?

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  • Junior Herrera

    Great article. Thank you.

  • Olivia Jupp

    Brillant ideas

  • Emily Moore

    Interesting insights, so simple yet hard for many managers to implement

  • Richard Johnson

    Great post, thanks for sharing.

  • Carly McKernan

    Great article with some decisive actions !

  • Nicholas Baluyut

    Very true, enlightening post.

  • Emily Shaw

    You have made some great points, thanks for sharing.

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John Eades

Leadership Expert

John is the CEO of LearnLoft, author of, F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader and host of the 'Follow My Lead' Podcast. He writes or has been featured on Inc.com, LinkedIn Pulse, TrainingIndustry.com, eLearningIndustry.com, CNBC Money, and more. John completed his education at the University of Maryland College. 

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