• Published April 20, 2020
  • 2 Minute Read

Focus Development to Address Senior Leadership Challenges

Lead with impact: Address senior leadership challenges

Understand the Challenges Facing Function Leaders to Focus Development & Boost Performance

The most effective senior executives are able to think, act, and influence at both a tactical and strategic level, balancing strategic priorities to help the organization achieve its goals.

Even before the global pandemic and economic crisis, the challenges facing senior leaders were great. As organizations face intense pressure to innovate or be left behind, these leaders are forced to continuously improve and perform, and many struggle with how to do it.

The reality these leaders face is challenging and complex — and there are many new skills needed to be successful. By clarifying senior leadership challenges and focusing development on what’s most important, leaders at this level have great opportunity to boost performance and create a positive impact for their organizations, the teams they’re privileged to lead, their families, and their communities at large.

This white paper looks at the challenges and realities of being a senior leader who is head of function, division, or department, and how individuals in these positions can focus development and boost their performance.

Infographic: Focus Development to Address These Senior Leadership Challenges

The work is based on a study by a team of our senior faculty. They analyzed assessment results and written comments from close to 1,000 functional leaders who participated in our Leading for Organizational Impact program, or in a similar, customized client engagement.

Our team also analyzed 360-degree assessment ratings from nearly 15,000 of their bosses, peers, superiors, and direct reports, and interviewed 101 of these leaders to better understand their most pressing issues. Some of the trends they identified around senior leadership challenges and focusing development include:

  • To provide broader perspective, organizations are extending functional leaders’ responsibilities to oversee several functional areas.
  • Functional leaders are being asked to lead major strategic initiatives across the organization to gain critical experiences they may be lacking.
  • More targeted mentoring is being offered by highly experienced leaders both inside and outside the organization (including board members).
  • Strategic projects are being owned by multiple functional leaders, while applying a more systemic and strategic approach to leadership.
  • Leaders are gaining experiences from both wide and deep job assignments. More often, these assignments include global and cross-cultural responsibilities.
  • Reward systems are measuring results over a longer time horizon.
  • Board members are being more proactive in developing key talent.
  • CEOs are thinking more strategically about their organization’s leadership.
  • Functional leaders are moving from a mindset of either/or to both/and in their strategic planning, decision-making, and implementation.

Download White Paper

Download White Paper

For a more comprehensive overview of our research on senior leadership challenges and how organizations are responding by focusing development of their functional leaders, download our full white paper.

  • Published April 20, 2020
  • 2 Minute Read

Based on Research by

Richard Walsh
Richard Walsh
Former Senior Faculty, Portfolio Manager & Coaching Practice Leader

Richard provided expertise in strategic leadership, C-level coaching, and mentoring of functional leaders. He coauthored numerous articles and papers on leading with impact, future trends, coaching, and mentoring.

Stephanie Trovas
Stephanie Trovas
Global Director, Product Development

Stephanie leads a team that develops proven, research-based leadership development products and solutions. With over 20 years of experience in the learning and development field, she has designed, facilitated, and managed numerous human-centered leadership solutions with a focus on impact and application to make the learning stick.

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About CCL

The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL)® is a top-ranked, global, nonprofit provider of leadership development and a pioneer in the field of global leadership research. We know from experience how transformative remarkable leaders really can be.

Over the past 50 years, we’ve worked with organizations of all sizes from around the world, including more than 2/3 of the Fortune 1000. Our hands-on development solutions are evidence-based and steeped in our work with hundreds of thousands of leaders at all levels.