In the early stages of your career you are pretty ambitious.
If you’re an accountant or professional you probably invested a lot of time, energy and money in getting professionally qualified.
You saw that as your route to building a successful career.
Of course you soon realise that to get beyond a certain level you have to start managing and ultimately moving into a leadership role.
Now don’t get me wrong many professionals step into a leadership role and do a pretty good job at it.
Others find it a huge struggle.
The thing is leading looks easy from the outside looking in as an observer.
Equally a lot of the books give the impression that if you do a few simple things really well you will be a success.
Sadly this can result of an over simplification of what it takes to be good at leading.
So what’s some of the problems or challenges you need to know about leading?
Expected to deliver results
When you are not in a formal leadership role it’s easy to talk about what others should do.
But ultimately you are not accountable for delivering results.
You can always let someone else carry the can.
As a leader you are expected to deliver result after result.
And of course people are quick to point out when you failed to deliver.
Ambiguity goes with the territory
For many professionals each day, week and month is pretty predictable.
Contrast this with leading where you are dealing with ambiguity a lot of the time.
You have to take decisions and take action without necessarily knowing what will and won’t work.
If you enjoy predictability dealing with the ambiguity can be tough.
Peers are not always on the same page
One might think that leadership teams are all aiming for the same thing.
In theory they would be.
Yet often even on leadership teams peers are not all aiming in the same direction.
Personal agendas often become priority.
Egos can get in the way of progress
I saw this in action several times during my career.
Often the more senior people are the more likely they are to have big egos.
The problem with big egos is that people spend more energy on shooting down others ideas, trying to force their opinions on others than listening and keeping the organisational agenda at the forefront.
Despite all these problems being a leader is hugely rewarding and a privileged position. Just go into leading with your eyes open.
In summary since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 6,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them achieve career success and become better leaders and presenters. 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.