In our December 2011 poll, we asked our readers which elements of leadership they were least prepared for when they became a manager. The results were conclusive and more than half (53.9%) of the respondents said “Developing a strategic vision for your team” was the biggest challenge they faced as a new leader.
According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, nearly one in four companies plan on hiring for executive-level positions over the next six months. One of the most vital responsibilities for any new leader is the ability to not only have a vision for where the company or their team is going, but also how to develop a plan to get there. From setting SMART goals, to analyzing the previous year’s performance, there are a wide variety of factors that go into developing a strategic plan. A new leader who has not been responsible for broad, big-picture planning in the past may have a difficult time even knowing where to start.
The second biggest challenge, according to our poll, is communicating with employees. In another recent CareerBuilder survey, 40% of employees said their direct supervisors don’t make an effort to listen to employees or address morale and 33% said they lacked transparency and open and honest communication habits – both of which are major components of effective communication.
Only 12.8% of respondents said they were completely prepared for their new leadership role. Studies have shown that companies that invest in leadership development and succession planning typically see lower turnover, increased employee engagement, and higher productivity. So, it’s in your best interest to ensure those who are trusted to lead have all the tools and training necessary to effectively manage their teams.
What are some other challenges you faced when you took on a new leadership role? Does your company have a comprehensive leader development program? Let us know in the comment section below.