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5 Barriers That Get In The Way of People Leading and Managing Effectively In Turbulent Times

Every leader and manager faces challenges on a day to day basis.  Most of of the time they deal with them.  In turbulent times, which I define as perhaps a crisis or a time where there is a need for decisive action, many leaders and managers struggle.

I’ve picked out 5 main reasons for this, based on my experience:

Barrier 1: Head In The Sand Syndrome

The head in the sand syndrome is a bit like the ostrich.  People bury their heads in the sand.

They try to ignore that there’s a problem or won’t acknowledge the fact that things are not going as well as they could do.

Often what happens is, when we get people in that head in the sand syndrome, they’re actually refusing to acknowledge that anything needs to happen, any change needs to be made.

They kind of I guess go along blindly, not taking any action.

When they stop taking action, then things just get worse and worse.

Barrier 2: Me Me Me

The second barrier to managing and leading in these turbulent times is something which I’m calling the “me, me, me” approach.

You know, at times like this, people naturally worry about their own personal circumstances.

And if you’re a leader, there’s a real chance that you might be focusing all of your attention on your own personal survival rather than focussing on delivering results for the organisation or improving performance or tackling some of the changes that are necessary.

So if you are someone who is in this survival mode, you must remember that you are a leader and, as a leader, you are rewarded to take some risk.

Clearly right now there is an element of risk out there but, if the focus is on survival, then you are unlikely to be focussing your attention on achieving results for the organisations you lead or manage.  So the second barrier is the me, me, me or survival mode.

Barrier 3: The Blame Game

The third reason or third barrier that I’ve noticed that gets in the way of people successfully leading and managing in these turbulent times is what I’m going to call “the blame game”.

It’s actually looking to find a scapegoat or scapegoats to blame for what has happened.

When I worked in mainstream finance roles, it was really easy for people to stand back and say, “Well of course it’s all the accountants who are stopping us doing this”.

And you get this right across organisations.

You might well have production people who are blaming marketing people for coming up with products that are not really good enough quality, in the eyes of the production people.

You might find that people in marketing are blaming HR for things because of policies.

So you can actually have this pass the parcel type approach where every bit of the organisation is blaming another part for what’s actually going on.

And really what’s happening is that the parcel is being passed around from pillar to post but nothing is actually happening.

Barrier 4: Victim Mentality

The fourth barrier that I’ve noticed is people falling into the “victim mentality”.

It sounds a bit like, “Why is this happening to me?  Why is it happening to my organisation?  Why is my division affected?  Why is my team affected by all this?”

Really what that leads to is denial or people looking for a set of circumstances to justify the lack of action in terms of delivering results.

Barrier 5: Safety In Numbers

Now the fifth barrier I’m going to talk about is something called “safety in numbers”.

That might sound something like, “Well, how do you expect it to be different in our organisation?

Look what’s happening in Organisation X or organisation Y.”

So it really is easy in these situations for people to start saying, “Okay, every other organisation in this industry is doing badly so we don’t really need to worry too much about how we are performing.”

The Reality

It is in those really challenging and uncertain times that real leadership and great management comes to the forefront.

Duncan Brodie helps accountants and professional people to develop their leadership and management skills in order to achieve more career success.  Learn more here.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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