What a great question! Stephanie Oden asked this question on Linked In yesterday and I felt compelled to weigh in.
What did I say? Check it out.
What a great question which almost demands an “it depends” answer.
A “new” leader can be interpreted a few different ways. A leader new to a role or a truly new leader. I would assess their biggest challenge to be potentially very different.
A leader new to a role will bring with them some level of skill in leadership and hence will look at their new environment differently than will the new leader.
So in the first case the leader new to the role will be faced with the challenge of understanding the organizational dynamics (systems and culture) at play that will dictate to a large extent their early integration strategy. Essentially they need to discover where the land mines and sacred cows are before they run full speed into them. Also how projects get completed, where are the sources of informal power need to be determined. Not to mention they need to initiate the relationships necessary for them to function as a leader.. As they come to terms with the organizational dynamics they can begin to craft a strategy that incorporates organizational goals along with local tenets of “the way we do things here”
The new leader has a totally different challenge. They have to learn to lead either with or with out the benefit of organizational knowledge (none if they are a new hire). In this case the biggest challenge as I see it is fostering effective relationships in the organization both with team members and peers to help the both their team and them self succeed in the new role while at the same time figuring out exactly what it means to lead.
Thanks for the opportunity!
So what are your thought? What are the largest challenges facing todays new leader?