6 Struggles Every Leader Will Face

When you’re chosen or choose to be a leader, you’ll encounter certain roadblocks along the leadership road. We all face them, so fear not. You’re not alone.

Image by Bruce

Image by Bruce

Since you’re not alone, lets start sharing some of our struggles. I’ll start with my list. I’ve come up with a list of 6 leadership struggles every leader will face one day.

  • Unifying the team: With so many different personalities on the team, it can be hard to have team unity. Someone’s always butting heads with another coworker. Learning to unify the team and create a civil working environment is a must.
  • Delegating tasks: There’s the struggle of delegating tasks to team members who may be able to do them better than you. However, when you begin delegating, you show your employees that you have trust in their work. If you want to learn more about delegation, Michael Hyatt has an excellent podcast episode on delegation.
  • Measuring up: I’ve found myself doubting that I measure up to other leaders. I’m sure you’ve found yourself there as well. This lack of confidence seeps into your leadership and begins destroying it from the inside-out. Stop measuring yourself and realize you’re seeing leaders who are further ahead than you. You’re at the beginning, they may be at their middle or end.
  • The desire to be fair: This one may be the most dangerous. We’ve been raised on the ideal of fairness and that everyone should be treated the same. For some reason we see this as a sense of fairness. The truth is we can’t treat everyone the same. There are members of our inner circles who will get more of our time than those on the outskirts. When we try to be “fair” to everyone, we become frustrated because we know we can’t be everything to everyone.
  • Keeping the vision front and center: It’s been said that where there is no vision, the people perish. We know it’s critical we keep the vision front and center. But how often do we let it slip into the background? Ensure the vision is being pushed in your organization. Let your team know it’s the backbone and driving force. Keep the vision in the minds of every employee!
  • Fear of failure: Lastly, let’s cover the fear of failure. The crippling effects of this fear can be seen through so many companies. It’s visible in the unwillingness to change directions, to make a risky move, and the failure to make a decision. The fear of failure can stop a company dead in it’s tracks. Don’t let this happen to you. Calculate the risks and take the ones that make the most sense.

I think everyone can relate to at least one of these struggles, if not more. They’re common to every level of leadership and something every leader will encounter. Don’t be overcome by the struggle. Face them with confidence and come through on the other side.

Question: I’ve shared my 6 leadership struggles. What would you say has been your biggest leadership struggle? How are you dealing with it? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Carol Peterson

    Fear of failure is a personal struggle. But as for leadership, I’d say I struggle with delegation. After all, I can do things so much better than everyone else. (chuckle)

    • I can understand that struggle with delegation. It’s hard to trust someone else with the responsibility so we tackle it ourselves. There’s things I hate to delegate because of the feelings related to it.

      One way I’ve begin to overcome it has been to give out tasks that aren’t necessarily important but need to be done. When they’re done well, it’s easier to give another one away.

      Have you found any ways to overcome yours Carol?

  • Carol Peterson

    No sooner had I left my comment, than I received an email telling me to delegate certain tasks I oversee to others. Methinks God’s arranging things to remind me to put on my Nike’s and just do it.

  • Fear of failure is one I really struggle with as a leader. I fear risking and going outside of my comfort zone because I might fall on my face. I’m starting to punch my fear in the face. I have to keep telling my self even if I fail I still can learn and gain valuable experience.

    Great post Joe!

    • Thanks for being so honest Dan. Fear is one I can relate to as well. You know that from our talks about public speaking. It’s great to see you standing up and taking control of the fear. Keep at it buddy!

      • No problem. It can be hard but I know it’s part of my calling.

    • DS

      Is that a hidden Acuff reference? I’m glad to hear about you emerging from your comfort zone!

  • For me personally it’s delegating tasks, I could get a lot more accomplished if I was better at this. As far as the rest of the list, these points are spot on.

    • Looks like you’re not alone Kimanzi. Carol said that was one of her struggles as well. It can be hard giving control to others but it’s well worth doing when your plate is too full or you’re not good at an activity.

  • The desire to be fair – which I don’t even try to do anymore. I believe it is not only okay to spend more time with your stars, but that you should. Time invested in your top performers generally yields more than letting lower performers monopolize your time.

    • It’s great that other people are realizing this as well Tom. It’s tough to break away from the “give everyone equal time” mentality that invaded leadership for so long.

  • Eileen

    Great thoughts. I’ve led many small groups over the years. And, I’ve gone through times when I think I struggled with each of your points. It always came back to realizing that it wasn’t about me. It was God able to use me despite my weaknesses and lack of ability.

    • Thanks Eileen. I like how you got out of the struggle and realized that you weren’t alone. There’s someone who’s with us that is bigger than we are.

  • Christian Writers

    I was encouraged by this.
    I teach and lead a youth group at my church, and the biggest struggle I face is definitely feeling inadequate. It doesn’t take too many pairs of glazed eyes or missed instructions to feel like no one is listening. The encouragement I get is knowing our words and actions may have a greater impact than we could ever know. I heard it said comparing yourself only leads to one of two outcomes, envy or pride. Our worth and impact are not measured in relation to others.
    Rev. CM Logan

    • Rev. CM, I’m glad it was an encouragement to you. That’s awesome you lead a youth group. It’s a challenge for sure! How long have you been doing YM?

      Depending on how long you’ve been leading, you’ll discover how true your words were. They go deeper and longer than you can imagine. Years later students will come back and tell you of the impact you had on them. Keep on doing what you’re doing.

      • Christian Writers

        I’ve been teaching for about 4-5 years. Some days the light bulbs clicks with them, and I’m on cloud nine. Some days I want to pull my hair out. All in all, however, it is a blessing.

        • I feel you Rev… I’ll keep you in prayer as you continue to lead the next generation.

  • Hi Joe,

    This was a wonderful post!

    The point you made about the desire to be fair was very interesting. In the companies I’ve worked at, I’ve often thought about the frustrations the leaders must go through when it comes to this area. Indeed, as you said, those in the inner circle will get more time. I’m sure leaders would like to spend equal time with as many people as possible. However, the larger the organisation the more difficult this becomes.

    Thank you.

    • Hiten, thank you for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed the post and hope you’ll apply what I’ve written.

      The desire to be fair is a truth struggle leaders go through. We’ve been taught that it’s only proper that we’re fair to everyone and treat them all the same. Outside of work, we know that we can’t yet at work we can’t make this distinction.

      How would you handle this struggle?

  • DS

    I struggle with saying “no”. I like to please people, and it is difficult for me to not accept to much, or offer a healthy “no” to opportunities or helping others. Then it limits my capacity to do other things period, plus it keeps me from taking opportunities that are really in my strength zone.

    • Ohhh… That’s a good one DS. What could you begin to do to help you in saying no?

  • I think my organization sometimes fails by failing to keep the vision front and center. Many of the leader have an idea of the vision, but we don’t always do the best job consistently talking about it with our teams and ingraining it into the culture of the office. Thanks for the reminder to work on this for my team, Joe.

    • You’re welcome Jon. What can you do to ensure that your organization stops failing in this area?

      • Like the Israelites were commanded to do in Deuteronomy 6:6-9, we need to talk about our vision all the time with our team members.

  • Joe,

    Honestly? Your entire list sums up my struggles very well. It is a constant battle to maintain proper thinking and focus.

    • TJ,

      Thanks for your honesty. As long as you continue to fight the good fight, keep on keeping on!

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