The Most Difficult Part of Being a Leader: Identifying and Overcoming Challenges

Choose the part you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 14, 2024 06:39
Welcome to StrawPoll's latest ranking - "What is the most difficult part of being a leader?" As a leader, there are multiple challenges you face, and we're here to uncover which one stands out the most. Do you find decision-making, communication, or delegation as the hardest part? Or is it the responsibility for the team's success that keeps you up at night? We've compiled a list of these tough leadership aspects, and we want to hear your thoughts! Cast your vote for the most difficult part of being a leader or suggest a missing option that has tested your leadership skills. Dive in, share your experiences, and let's explore the intricacies of leadership together!

What Is the Most Difficult Part of Being a Leader?

  1. 1
    Leaders are often faced with complex and difficult decisions that can have a significant impact on their team or organization. These decisions require careful consideration and evaluation of all available options.
    Making difficult decisions refers to the challenging process that leaders face when they must choose between various options that have significant consequences for their organization or team. It involves weighing multiple factors, risks, and potential outcomes to determine the best course of action.
    • Complexity: Decisions often involve intricate and interdependent factors.
    • Criticality: Decisions can have a profound impact on the success and well-being of the organization or team.
    • Uncertainty: Leaders often lack complete information, making decisions more challenging.
    • Emotional impact: Decisions can affect stakeholders' emotions, including employees and shareholders.
    • Time sensitivity: Some decisions require prompt action, leaving little room for deliberation.
    Making difficult decisions in other rankings
  2. 2
    Conflicts are inevitable in any group or organization, and leaders must be able to manage them effectively. This requires strong communication skills, the ability to listen to all parties involved, and the willingness to find a solution that benefits everyone.
    Managing conflicts is the process of addressing and resolving disagreements or disputes that arise between individuals or groups within a team or organization. It requires a leader to mediate conflicts, find common ground, and promote effective communication and collaboration to reach a resolution.
    • 1: Requires strong interpersonal and communication skills
    • 2: Involves active listening and empathy
    • 3: Requires impartiality and the ability to remain neutral
    • 4: Involves identifying underlying causes and addressing root issues
    • 5: Requires the ability to facilitate constructive dialogue
    Managing conflicts in other rankings
  3. 3
    As a leader, it is important to keep the team focused and motivated towards achieving the organization's goals. This requires effective communication, setting clear expectations, and providing regular feedback to team members.
    Maintaining focus and motivation is a crucial aspect of being a leader. It involves the ability to keep both oneself and the team motivated and on track towards accomplishing their goals. This requires ongoing effort and dedication.
    • Clarity of vision: Having a clear and compelling vision that inspires and drives the team.
    • Effective goal-setting: Setting specific, achievable goals that provide direction and motivation for the team.
    • Communication: Regularly communicating with the team to provide updates, feedback, and motivation.
    • Accountability: Holding oneself and team members accountable for their actions and outcomes.
    • Recognition and rewards: Recognizing and rewarding team members for their hard work and achievements.
  4. 4
    Building strong relationships with team members, stakeholders, and other leaders is essential for a leader's success. This requires strong interpersonal skills, the ability to listen and empathize, and the willingness to collaborate.
    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
    Leaders must be able to develop and implement effective strategies to achieve the organization's goals. This requires strong analytical skills, the ability to identify trends and opportunities, and the willingness to take calculated risks.
    Developing and implementing strategies is a crucial and challenging aspect of being a leader in any organization. It involves creating a long-term plan of action and executing it effectively to achieve the desired goals and objectives. This process requires a deep understanding of the organization's vision, mission, and current state, as well as the external factors that may impact its success. Developing and implementing strategies often involves analyzing data, assessing risks, making tough decisions, and inspiring and leading a team towards the defined objectives.
    • Critical thinking: Ability to analyze complex situations, identify opportunities, and make informed decisions based on available data.
    • Visionary mindset: Ability to envision the future state of the organization and develop strategies aligned with the long-term goals.
    • Strategic planning: Capability to create a clear roadmap and action plan to achieve the desired outcomes.
    • Effective communication: Skill to articulate the strategy, motivate the team, and align everyone towards the common goals.
    • Problem-solving: Capacity to identify and address challenges, obstacles, and potential risks that may hinder the successful implementation of strategies.
  6. 6
    Change is constant in any organization, and leaders must be able to manage it effectively. This requires the ability to adapt to new situations, communicate changes clearly, and provide support to team members.
    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
  7. 7
    Leaders must be able to provide a clear vision and direction for the organization, which can be challenging in a constantly changing environment. This requires the ability to think strategically, communicate effectively, and inspire others.
    Providing vision and direction is considered one of the most difficult parts of being a leader. It involves setting a clear direction and inspiring others towards a common goal.
    • Critical Thinking: The ability to analyze complex problems and make informed decisions.
    • Effective Communication: The capability to articulate a compelling vision and direction to team members.
    • Strategic Planning: The skill to develop long-term plans and align them with the organization's objectives.
    • Inspiration: The capacity to motivate and inspire others, creating enthusiasm and commitment towards achieving the vision.
    • Flexibility: The capacity to adapt the vision as circumstances change, ensuring its relevance and effectiveness.
  8. 8
    As a leader, it is important to manage time and resources effectively to achieve the organization's goals. This requires strong time management skills, the ability to prioritize tasks, and the willingness to delegate responsibilities.
    Managing time and resources is the responsibility of a leader to effectively allocate and optimize the limited time and resources available for achieving goals and objectives.
    • Priority: Determining the importance and urgency of tasks and allocating resources accordingly.
    • Task delegation: Assigning tasks to appropriate team members based on skills, availability, and workload.
    • Efficiency: Maximizing productivity and output while minimizing waste and unnecessary resource consumption.
    • Time management: Planning and organizing schedules, setting deadlines, and ensuring timely completion of tasks.
    • Resource allocation: Determining the optimal distribution of resources such as budget, manpower, technology, and equipment.
  9. 9
    Leadership can be a high-stress and high-pressure role, and leaders must be able to manage their own stress effectively. This requires the ability to recognize and manage stress triggers, practice self-care, and seek support when needed.
  10. 10
    Leaders are often faced with competing priorities, and must be able to balance them effectively. This requires the ability to prioritize tasks, make tough decisions, and communicate those decisions effectively to stakeholders.
    Balancing competing priorities is the challenge of being a leader where one has to navigate and allocate time, resources, and attention to various conflicting demands and objectives.
    • Complexity: It involves dealing with multiple tasks and objectives simultaneously.
    • Decision-making: Requires making tough choices and prioritizing between conflicting priorities.
    • Resource allocation: Involves distributing limited resources effectively and efficiently.
    • Time management: Leaders need to juggle multiple responsibilities within limited time constraints.
    • Communication: Effective communication is essential to manage and negotiate competing priorities.
    Balancing competing priorities in other rankings

Missing your favorite part?


Ranking factors for difficult part

  1. Decision-making
    Making tough decisions that affect the well-being of the organization or people involved.
  2. Delegation
    Effectively allocating tasks to the team and ensuring work is completed efficiently while maintaining a balance between control and autonomy.
  3. Conflict resolution
    Addressing and diffusing conflicts and tension among team members.
  4. Communication
    Ensuring clear and consistent communication with team members, stakeholders, and customers while maintaining open channels for feedback.
  5. Emotional intelligence
    Recognizing and managing one's emotions and the emotions of others, fostering positive relationships with team members.
  6. Adaptability
    Being able to change course when faced with unforeseen challenges and developing resilience in difficult situations.
  7. Time management
    Prioritizing tasks, meeting deadlines, and ensuring the efficient use of time by the team.
  8. Motivation and inspiration
    Encouraging team members to perform at their best, inspiring a shared vision, and creating a positive, motivating work environment.
  9. Accountability
    Holding oneself and team members responsible for their actions and performance, providing constructive feedback, and setting performance expectations.
  10. Vision and strategic planning
    Developing and implementing long-term plans that align with the goals of the organization and providing a clear direction for the team.
  11. Building and nurturing a positive team culture
    Creating a work environment in which team members feel valued, engaged, and empowered.
  12. Managing resources
    Ensuring the team has access to the necessary resources (e.g., finances, staff, equipment) to perform their tasks effectively.

About this ranking

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


  • 180 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

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

More information on most difficult part of being a leader

Being a leader comes with its own set of challenges and responsibilities. It requires effective communication, decision-making, delegation, and conflict resolution skills. However, the most difficult part of being a leader is often the pressure to constantly perform at a high level and be accountable for the people and tasks under their guidance. Leaders must balance their own personal goals and aspirations with the needs and expectations of their team or organization. Additionally, they must navigate complex interpersonal relationships and maintain a positive and productive work environment. Despite these challenges, being a successful leader can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling.

Share this article