What’s most challenging about leading organizations today? And do the challenges differ around the world?

Our researchers went straight to the source to answer these questions, gathering input from 763 middle- and executive-level leaders in organizations from China/Hong Kong, Egypt, India, Singapore, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S.

Our study found these leaders consistently face the same 6 challenges — even if they describe their challenges and specific context in different ways.

1. Developing Managerial Effectiveness is the challenge of developing the relevant skills — such as time-management, prioritization, strategic thinking, decision-making, and getting up to speed with the job — to be more effective at work.

2. Inspiring Others is the challenge of inspiring or motivating others to ensure they are satisfied with their jobs and working smarter.

3. Developing Employees is the challenge of developing others, including mentoring and coaching.

4. Leading a Team is the challenge of team-building, team development, and team management. Specific challenges include how to instill pride in a team or support the team, how to lead a big team, and what to do when taking over a new team.

5. Guiding Change is the challenge of managing, mobilizing, understanding and leading change. Guiding change includes knowing how to mitigate consequences, overcome resistance to change, and deal with employees’ reactions to change.

6. Managing Internal Stakeholders and Politics is the challenge of managing relationships, politics, and image. This challenge includes gaining managerial support and managing up and getting buy-in from other departments, groups or individuals.


Knowing that these challenges are common experiences for middle and senior managers is helpful to both the leaders and those charged with their development, according to our researchers.

Individuals can benefit from knowing their experiences as leaders are more similar than different and can feel more confident in reaching out to others to help them learn and face these challenges.

Here are 4 concrete things leaders can do to address these common challenges:

  • Set goals. Be proactive in setting goals, and the timelines and deadlines required to meet them.
  • Delegate more. Delegating can make you more productive. The act of delegation can also empower your colleagues to take more ownership.
  • Maximize your unique value. Among all the organizational priorities, there will always be important tasks that only you can do. These are the tasks you should focus on. As a result, you’ll maximize your specific value to the organization. Everything else, try to delegate.
  • Gain some role clarity. Understand what your work does and doesn’t entail. Be comfortable saying “no.”

Find details of the research and more detailed suggestions to address these top challenges in our white paper, “The Challenges Leaders Face Around the World: More Similar than Different.”

17 thoughts on “The Top 6 Leadership Challenges Around the World

  1. Rebs says:

    In my opinion the most challenging aspect of building and effective team is to choose right individuals.

  2. Maureen says:

    I think employee retention is more challenging for the leader.

  3. please who is the author for this helpful and resourceful article

  4. Olivia Roberts says:

    In my opinion technologiocaladvancement and cultural differences are the most challenging to leadership.

  5. Ravi V S says:

    This research and like many others is only looking at the root cause. And that is why year in year out the findings are quite similar. You need to look behind the root cause what led to these challenges. And from our research is because of the leaders themselves who created this mess. These leaders are intelligent but lack the intellect especially the skill to think with intellect.

  6. Renu says:

    Why is there no date. I couldn’t cite or refer your article for my coursework where I thought it is something very nice to share for my coursework.

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Start typing and press Enter to search