The dictionary defines a challenge as something that is threatening, stimulating or inciting. I commonly look at a challenge as an opposition. However you want to define the word, having the proper perspective is essential to overcoming any challenge.
All of your life you will have to live with people, unless you buy yourself a private island and live there in solitude. People are interesting and many times perplexing to say the least. In my leadership journey I have come across some very interesting people. Some have challenged my ideas, leadership, and my very being. I can’t remember a time when I just lead one person, so usually when an individual challenged me, the way I handled it would have a ripple effect on the other people on the team. So how you handle challenges is very important.
Whenever I am dealing with a challenge from a person, the very first thing I want to understand is what they are challenging and if they are challenging me at all. Never confuse a person asking for clarity for a person that is challenging you. As a leader you are called upon to communicate clearly. I noticed within myself, I may think I have said something clearly and I didn’t. So find out if the person is asking for clarity.
The next critical point is to determine if the person is seeking understanding of what is being communicated. The old way of leading that said, “Just do what you are told” is out the window. As I leader, it is your duty to make sure the team understands what is being done, or changed. For an example, if the company is changing health care providers, everyone should know why. Even though they didn’t have a say in the change, everyone feels better when they know why.
Lastly, I always look at who is making the challenge. Maturity plays a huge part when someone makes a challenge. When I was in the military, I found that nineteen and twenty year old privates always wanted to challenge me. Under military law, many times I could have gotten these individuals into a lot of hot water. But as a leader, I understood that developing these young soldiers was a part of my responsibility. I had to learn early on not to take a challenge so personally. I would usually take a young soldier and teach them how and when they could make a proper challenge and when it was inappropriate. For the most part I never had a second infraction.
Leadership to me is always about developing those that you lead. It has very little to do with titles and positions. I would rather someone respect me for my leadership, than my title or position. If I win them over with my leadership, the other will follow.
Author, Genius Potential
America's #1 Leadership Life Trainer