Leading Through the Storm: Navigating the Challenges of Being a Leader

Leadership is not without its challenges. As the leader of anything – a business, a sports team, a political party, even your own household – you are the person people look to in times of crisis, and just generally for guidance and instruction.

So what are the challenges of leading a team effectively? And as the head of a business, what are the challenges of managing multiple teams at the same time?

In this article, I take a look at the challenges of management and leadership in business, topics that you’ll also find addressed in detail in Episode 7 of my podcast Diary of an Entrepreneur.

Understanding the impact of being a leader

To appreciate the challenges of being a leader, first you need to understand the impact of being a leader. As I already said, leadership is not just about delegating duties. You are more than just a manager; you are a figurehead for your team to look up to, especially during difficult times.

The challenges of being a team leader are never greater than when times get tough. You need to strike a balance between navigating your team through a crisis, while also making difficult decisions or handing down bad news from the management hierarchy.

Remember, you need to stay calm and confident, without losing your compassion. If you can achieve this, your team will be more stable as a result.

The main challenges of being a leader

With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the main challenges of being a leader:

Staying resilient

Resilience is one of the biggest challenges of management. Over time you will face difficult economic cycles, disputes from employees and contracts that go sour. All of this can be mentally and emotionally challenging, so be prepared.

Building strong relationships

The ability to build effective relationships with people you might not normally socialise with is one of the challenges of being a team leader, but you can’t only work with people you like. You’ll need to be a good leader to all your personnel equally.

Communicating effectively

Good communication is a surprisingly scarce skill, and is one of the biggest challenges of managing multiple teams and communicating clearly to all of them at once. This should come with experience but there are also some communication techniques that can be learned quite quickly.

Maintaining a clear vision

There’s a big difference between focus and tunnel vision. In business, you need to know where you’re going, but also be adaptable if you find you need to take a different route to get there. Clear vision will help you to stay on course either way.

Adapting to change

Flexibility and adaptability are strong skills in general. Change is both challenge and opportunity, and your success in business will depend on your ability to seize the latter while overcoming the former.

Managing conflict

Ask many managers “what are the challenges of leading a team?” and they’ll tell you that avoiding conflict – and managing it when it arises – are two of the biggest. Make sure you have dispute resolution procedures in place and treat everyone fairly.


Delegation is another of the challenges of being a team leader, especially if you like to be popular. Nobody wants the difficult tasks, but it’s your job to divide them up and allocate them fairly. Remember, you can be friendly with your subordinates, but you cannot be their friend and also be an effective, unbiased manager.

Making tough decisions

The really tough decisions (e.g. disciplinaries and redundancy) are among the biggest challenges of management, especially at senior level when the decision-making stops with you. However, it’s essential sometimes to make those tough calls, for the health and happiness of your workforce overall – and for the survival of your business.

How to overcome common challenges of leadership

Overcoming the challenges of being a leader isn’t always easy. It takes mental and emotional strength, without losing your compassion and communication skills. I find an open dialogue with my staff and an open-door policy helps them to know that I’m here to help with any issues that arise – it’s better to be aware of them as they happen.

I go into much more detail about the challenges of managing multiple teams and personnel in Diary of an Entrepreneur. After building my content marketing brand Stada Media, I feel like I’ve faced some of the difficulties along the way, and I care strongly about sharing what I have learned with fellow entrepreneurs.

Leadership can be lonely, so build your own support network: a business mentor you can trust, and a managing director who can take some of the heat off of you during day-to-day operations. I hope my podcast can help you too. Remember, you’re not the only one facing the challenges you face; many of them are universal throughout the business world.

Closing thoughts

So, what are the challenges of leading a team effectively? Strong leadership, clear communication, adaptability and compassion are all good starting points. Most of all, listen to the people around you. If an employee has a problem, don’t just dismiss it. If you’re seeing an attitude problem or a drop in productivity, tackle it head-on.

It’s often a case of stopping the rot before it takes hold, in order to avoid a bigger challenge further down the line. It’s your responsibility to do this, so step up to the plate and confront the issues that are holding your team back from their full potential.

For more information about any of the issues I’ve raised here, please feel free to contact me directly. I welcome questions from fellow entrepreneurs and as I said, I believe strongly in sharing my own experiences, to help your journey through starting a business run as smoothly as possible.