7 Obstacles To Effective Leadership


As a leader you are judged on your ability to deliver results.  While at times this might seem tough and unfair, at the end of the day it is results that matter.  In theory delivering results is simple but in practice can be more difficult.  So what are 7 obstacles you need to address to deliver results and be an effective leader?


Obstacle 1: Old mindsets


This might not be the thing that you would automatically expect to see at the top of the list.  Truth is that when we become a leader it is easy to forget that there are different expectations and challenges.  If as a new leader you are still in the manager mindset you are going to struggle.  Even if you are not a new leader old mindsets and complacency can be an obstacle. 


Obstacle 2: Personal rather than corporate agenda


Ever noticed how someone’s leadership career evolves.  At the start they are a breath of fresh air, full of new ideas and enthusiasm, after a while, especially if the going gets tough, they start to focus on their own survival rather than on delivering success.  Be alert to becoming too focussed on your personal agenda.


Obstacle 3: Vagueness about direction


As the leader people will look to you to provide clear direction.  After all unless you have a clear direction in which you want to take the organisation or team forward in, how are you going to communicate it and get the support you need.


Obstacle 4: Micromanaging everything


One of the areas that differentiates the best from the poorer leaders is their ability to let go of things.  When a leader spends all of their time micromanaging everything they get lost in the detail of the day to day stuff and lose sight of the bigger picture.


Obstacle 5: Failure to act


We have all probably encountered this situation at some point in our career.  The organisation is facing some struggles, needs to take some decisions and most importantly act on them.  Yes it takes courage but failure to act is a recipe for disaster in the long term.          


Obstacle 6: Having to be right


Of course it is great to be the person who comes up with the ideas, turnaround or transformation plan or initiative.  On the other hand when this becomes essential to you as the leader you stop listening, taking ideas on board and potentially miss out on real opportunities.




Obstacle 7: Failing to adapt


Every situation requires a different response.  Failing to adapt leads to a situation where you become stuck.   In the worst case scenarios this failure to adapt can result in a whole organisation collapsing. Always be ready to adapt to new and changing circumstances


Would love to know what other obstacles you would add to the list so please leave your best ideas.

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.

Leave a Comment:

Llewellyn Kriel says 2 November 2009

These are REALLY good. In the 35 years I’ve been in business, in community upliftment, in social development, in education, in research, in journalism, in fighting crime & corruption, in health care and, of course, in leadership I have encountered every one of these character flaws – and sadly for all of us – most of them are still in business here (probably because they would not last that long in business beyond our borders).

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