The Most Difficult Aspect of Leading: Identifying Effective Leadership Strategies

Choose the aspect you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 16, 2024 06:36
Are you ready to dive into the intriguing world of leadership challenges? At StrawPoll, we're excited to present our latest ranking: "What is the most difficult aspect of leading?" Thousands have already joined the conversation, and now it's your turn to have your say! From decision-making to team management, communication, and more – we've got it all covered. But, if you think there's a crucial aspect we've missed, don't worry! You can suggest your own option, and see how it fares against the rest. So, what are you waiting for? Unleash your inner leader, and join us in exploring the complex and captivating dynamics of leadership. Cast your vote now, and together, let's uncover the toughest challenges that leaders face today!

What Is the Most Difficult Aspect of Leading?

  1. 1
    Leaders are often required to make difficult decisions that could impact the success or failure of their organization. This can be a challenging task as it requires them to assess multiple options and weigh the pros and cons before arriving at a decision.
    Making tough decisions is one of the most challenging aspects of leadership. It requires leaders to assess different options, consider potential consequences, and choose the best course of action in difficult situations. These decisions often involve weighing priorities, managing conflicts, and dealing with uncertainty. Making tough decisions is a crucial skill for leaders to navigate complex issues, drive organizational success, and inspire confidence in their team.
    • Critical thinking: Ability to analyze information and evaluate options objectively
    • Problem-solving: Skill to identify and address underlying problems
    • Risk assessment: Capability to evaluate potential risks and benefits
    • Ethical considerations: Awareness of moral and ethical implications of decisions
    • Communication: Effectiveness in conveying reasoning and outcomes to stakeholders
  2. 2
    Conflict is inevitable in any organization, and leaders need to be skilled in managing it effectively. They must remain impartial while also encouraging open communication and resolving disputes in a constructive manner.
    Managing conflict is the process of addressing and resolving disagreements and disputes within a team or organization. It involves understanding the nature of the conflict, identifying the underlying issues, and implementing strategies to find a mutually beneficial solution. Effective conflict management promotes healthy communication, collaboration, and productivity.
    • Communication: Promotes open and honest communication to understand different viewpoints.
    • Problem-solving: Emphasizes the use of problem-solving techniques to find win-win solutions.
    • Emotional intelligence: Encourages self-awareness and empathy to navigate interpersonal conflicts.
    • Mediation: Utilizes third-party mediators to facilitate dialogue and resolution.
    • Conflict resolution strategies: Incorporates various strategies such as compromise, collaboration, or avoidance.
    Managing conflict in other rankings
  3. 3

    Motivating and inspiring others

    Leaders and supervisors
    Leaders need to inspire their team members to achieve their goals and perform at their best. This requires them to have good communication skills, understand the needs and strengths of their team members, and provide positive feedback and recognition.
    Motivating and inspiring others is the process of encouraging individuals to perform to the best of their abilities and inspiring them to achieve their goals. It involves creating a positive work environment, promoting teamwork, setting clear expectations, and providing recognition and rewards for achievements.
    • Communication: Effective communication skills are vital in motivating and inspiring others. Leaders should be able to clearly convey their expectations, provide constructive feedback, and listen actively to their team members.
    • Vision: Leaders need to articulate a clear vision and set goals that inspire others. This vision should be meaningful, ambitious, and aligned with the organization's values and objectives.
    • Empathy: Being empathetic and understanding the needs and concerns of team members is essential for motivating and inspiring them. Leaders should show empathy, provide support, and foster a sense of belonging.
    • Recognition and rewards: Acknowledging and rewarding the achievements and efforts of team members is crucial in motivating and inspiring them. Leaders should develop a system that recognizes individual and team accomplishments.
    • Leadership by example: Leading by example is an important aspect of motivating and inspiring others. Leaders should demonstrate the qualities and behaviors they expect from their team members, such as dedication, integrity, and a strong work ethic.
  4. 4
    Leaders need to foster strong relationships with their team members, stakeholders, and partners to ensure the success of their organization. This involves building trust, maintaining open communication, and being responsive to the needs of others.
    Building and maintaining relationships is a challenging aspect of leading that involves establishing and nurturing connections with individuals or groups to foster collaboration and mutual understanding.
    • Effective Communication: Being able to convey information clearly and actively listen to others.
    • Trust and Empathy: Developing trust through honesty, integrity, and showing understanding and compassion.
    • Conflict Resolution: Addressing conflicts and finding resolutions in a constructive manner.
    • Networking: Proactively establishing and nurturing a network of professional relationships.
    • Collaboration: Creating an environment that encourages teamwork and cooperation.
    Building and maintaining relationships in other rankings
  5. 5
    Change is a constant in today's business environment, and leaders need to be adept at managing it. They must be able to anticipate and adapt to changes in the market, industry, and organization, and lead their team members through the transition process.
    Managing change refers to the process of planning, implementing, and monitoring changes within an organization to ensure smooth transitions and successful outcomes. It involves understanding the need for change, creating a clear vision, overcoming resistance, and empowering stakeholders to adapt to new ways of working.
    • Continuous process: Managing change is an ongoing, continuous process that requires constant monitoring and adaptation.
    • Effective communication: Open and effective communication is crucial to managing change and ensuring that all stakeholders are informed and engaged.
    • Change readiness assessment: Assessing the organization's readiness for change helps identify potential barriers and develop strategies to address them.
    • Change management plan: A well-structured plan outlines the goals, timeline, resources, and actions required for successful change implementation.
    • Resistance management: Anticipating and addressing resistance to change is essential to minimize disruptions and gain buy-in from stakeholders.
    Managing change in other rankings
  6. 6
    Leaders need to have a clear vision and strategy for their organization and be able to communicate it effectively to their team members. They must also be able to develop a plan of action and execute it successfully.
    Developing and executing strategies is the process of formulating and implementing plans and actions to achieve long-term goals and objectives. It involves analyzing the current state of affairs, setting strategic objectives, and creating a roadmap to guide decision-making and resource allocation. The process requires considering internal and external factors, assessing risks and opportunities, and aligning the organization's resources and capabilities with its strategic direction.
    • Vision: Defining a clear and compelling vision for the future.
    • Market Analysis: Evaluating market trends, competitors, and customer needs.
    • Goal Setting: Setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals.
    • Resource Allocation: Determining how to allocate resources effectively to support strategy execution.
    • Risk Assessment: Identifying and evaluating potential risks and developing mitigation strategies.
  7. 7
    Leaders must be able to manage their time and priorities effectively to ensure that they can focus on the most important tasks and projects. This requires them to be organized, prioritize tasks, and delegate responsibilities when necessary.
    Managing time and priorities is the process of effectively allocating and organizing one's time and resources in order to accomplish tasks, meet deadlines, and balance multiple responsibilities and priorities. It involves making informed decisions about how to allocate time based on the importance and urgency of tasks, while also considering limitations and constraints.
    • Task prioritization: Determining the importance and urgency of tasks to allocate time effectively.
    • Time allocation: Determining how much time to allocate to each task based on its priority.
    • Deadline management: Tracking and meeting deadlines for various tasks and projects.
    • Multitasking: Balancing and juggling multiple tasks and priorities simultaneously.
    • Delegation: Identifying tasks that can be delegated to others to free up time for more important responsibilities.
  8. 8
    Leaders need to be able to lead a diverse team with different backgrounds, perspectives, and skills. They must be able to create an inclusive culture that values diversity and promotes collaboration and innovation.
    Leading a diverse team involves the challenge of effectively managing a group of individuals with varying backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, and cultural identities. It requires adapting leadership styles to ensure inclusivity and harness the unique strengths and ideas of each team member.
    • 7: Addressing and resolving conflicts arising from cultural differences
    • 1: Fostering an inclusive environment
    • 2: Promoting diversity and equality
    • 3: Ensuring effective communication across diverse perspectives
    • 4: Adapting leadership styles to individual needs
  9. 9
    Leaders need to be able to maintain their resilience in the face of challenges, setbacks, and failures. They must be able to bounce back from adversity and stay positive and focused on their goals.
    Maintaining resilience is the ability of a leader to endure and bounce back from challenges or setbacks while maintaining a strong and positive mindset. It involves consistently adapting and responding to difficulties in a productive and effective manner, without losing focus or motivation. Resilience allows leaders to persevere through tough times, make rational decisions, and inspire confidence in their team.
    • Emotional intelligence: Developing self-awareness, managing emotions, and empathizing with others to navigate challenging situations.
    • Adaptability: Being flexible and open-minded to adjust strategies or approaches when faced with obstacles or unexpected changes.
    • Stress management: Effectively managing stress levels and implementing coping mechanisms to avoid burnout or potential negative impacts on decision-making.
    • Positive mindset: Maintaining an optimistic and solution-oriented outlook, even in challenging circumstances.
    • Support network: Seeking support from mentors, coaches, or peers to navigate difficulties and maintain resilience.
  10. 10
    Leaders must be committed to continuous learning and growth to stay relevant and effective in their role. They must be open to feedback, seek out new knowledge and skills, and be willing to adapt and evolve as needed.
    Continuously learning and growing is the process of constantly seeking knowledge, developing new skills, and adapting to changing circumstances in order to enhance leadership abilities. It involves a commitment to personal and professional development, as well as a willingness to embrace challenges and learn from failures.
    • Importance: 1
    • Adaptability: 2
    • Self-reflection: 3
    • Curiosity: 4
    • Open-mindedness: 5

Missing your favorite aspect?


Ranking factors for difficult aspect

  1. Decision making
    As a leader, making tough decisions is a constant challenge. This includes making choices that may not be popular but are necessary for the organization's success, balancing the needs of various stakeholders, and taking calculated risks.
  2. Communication
    Ensuring consistent, clear, and empathetic communication with team members, peers, superiors, and other stakeholders is a critical skill for a leader. This includes active listening, resolving conflicts, giving feedback, and motivating employees.
  3. Adaptability
    Due to the dynamic nature of today's business environment, leaders must be able to adapt to changes and pivot when necessary, whether it's a change in strategy, dealing with unforeseen challenges, or embracing new technologies.
  4. Building trust
    Trust within a team is crucial for high performance and collaboration. A leader must be honest, transparent, and accountable to cultivate trust and credibility.
  5. Developing and mentoring team members
    Empowering employees to grow and achieve their full potential is an essential aspect of leadership. This requires time, patience, and the ability to recognize and capitalize on individual strengths and weaknesses.
  6. Strategic thinking and foresight
    Leaders must have a clear vision of the long-term goals and a plan for how to achieve them. This involves understanding the external environment, anticipating potential obstacles, and being prepared to make strategic adjustments as needed.
  7. Emotional intelligence
    Effective leadership requires high emotional intelligence; understanding and managing one's emotions and those of others. This includes empathy, self-awareness, and self-regulation.
  8. Resilience and perseverance
    Leaders must have the ability to keep pushing forward, even when facing adversity or setbacks. Demonstrating resilience and perseverance is vital for maintaining team morale and staying on track to achieve long-term objectives.
  9. Delegation
    Effective delegation allows a leader to allocate tasks and responsibilities to team members based on their abilities and strengths. This not only ensures tasks are completed efficiently but also empowers employees and fosters professional growth.
  10. Time and resource management
    A successful leader must manage their time and the resources available to the team effectively. This includes prioritizing tasks, setting realistic goals, and ensuring the necessary tools and support are provided to achieve desired outcomes.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most difficult aspect of leading. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or aspect is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 185 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each aspect once every 24 hours. The rank of each aspect is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most difficult aspect of leading

Leadership is a multifaceted and complex role that requires a diverse set of skills, traits, and experiences. Whether you are leading a team in a corporate setting or managing a group of volunteers in a community organization, there are various challenges that come with the territory. One of the most difficult aspects of leading is the responsibility of making tough decisions that impact the success and wellbeing of the group. This can include navigating conflicts, setting priorities, and allocating resources in a way that balances the needs and interests of different stakeholders. Additionally, leaders must be able to motivate and inspire their teams, while also holding them accountable for their actions and performance. This can be a delicate balancing act that requires strong communication skills, emotional intelligence, and a deep understanding of human behavior. Ultimately, the most successful leaders are those who can adapt to changing circumstances, learn from their mistakes, and continuously strive to improve their leadership skills.

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