Maintaining effective leadership skills is a key leadership challenge as executives move up the ranks. The leadership skills that served you well as a functional or business unit manager probably won’t be relevant any more once you enter general management. Indeed, this leadership challenge can come as a shock to previously very successful executives promoted to a general manager position!

Inspirational leadership is required at this level in order to motivate and enable people to follow your agenda and your long-term vision for the organization – including people over whom you have no direct authority. Senior executives need particularly strong skills for resolving conflicts, stakeholder engagement, and motivating and inspiring others to continually give their best.

A second key leadership challenge relates to the strategic planning process. Business development is only possible through the development and execution of a well-crafted business strategy. This requires solid strategic analysis, the setting of clear business objectives, and the aligning of stakeholders, resources and business activities to meet these objectives. This leadership challenge is hard enough as it is, but becomes even more challenging when leaders face the dual goals of driving both immediate business results and long-term company success.

How can business leaders overcome a dual strategic leadership challenge of this type? In addition to strong business strategy skills and strong personal leadership skills, as discussed above, business executives can help achieve short-term business results through the ability to diagnose and resolve performance problems, as well as developing a winning organizational culture.

At the same time, business leaders need to build capabilities across the company to ensure the business stays successful in the future. This includes being able to determine the need for change within the company or business, as well as the current state of play – how ready are people for change. Meeting this leadership challenge also requires good talent management and development. The talent pool available to most leaders within their organization is limited. Retaining good managers and employees, and growing their capabilities is essential to ensuring the company has the necessary skill set for future success. It is all too easy to neglect this part of the organizational development of a company, but without this a company’s growth will be short-term only.



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