Giving Compass' Take:

Amy Jen Su describes the barriers and challenges that individuals face when trying to become effective leaders.

Why is it critical for donors to be effective leaders and be able to identify good leadership at organizations?

Read about the characteristics of effective leaders.

Whether you are a leader of an organization, team, family, community, or school group—or like most of us, some combination thereof—each day you are faced with many moments that test your ability to lead effectively. Decisions need to be made, work needs to be prioritized, and initiatives need to be coordinated with colleagues, all of whom have their own agendas, styles, and perspectives. The landscape of contemporary life is pocked with challenges for all professionals, irrespective of industry, level, or skill. Many of these challenges lead us down a slippery slope right into Leader B mode, where things start to look more difficult by the day.

We can all come up with our own lists, but I’ve found that these challenges fall into four general categories. See if any of these sound familiar:

  1. There are never enough hours in the day. This may be the number one challenge I hear, and it’s one I struggle with most myself. Many of us face the constant quandary of wanting to do more, advance and complete our initiatives, expand our impact in new and exciting ways, and be the best version of ourselves we can be.
  2. Work is more complex. Many leaders are grappling with overwhelming complexity on multiple fronts.
  3. Our organizations and other people get in the way. Our bosses, peers, direct reports, and other stakeholders can create frustration, unnecessary roadblocks, bottlenecks, or conflict.
  4. We get in our own way. Highly ambitious, successful people tend to be more self-critical, place greater demands on themselves, and generally feel an outsized pressure to succeed.

Read the full article about barriers to leadership by Amy Jen Su at Stanford Social Innovation Review.