Five Leadership Challenges


When I am working with groups of leaders I often get asked what makes a good leader.  With all the literature and research that exists on leadership, we could easily spend a week discussing this issue and then draw conclusions that some will agree with enthusiastically, some with warmth, others with apathy and the some with disdain.

I tend to use a simple way of picking up the constituent parts of leadership, it is not comprehensive and does not answer every question but provides an excellent platform for reflection and action planning.  It is incredibly simple but lends itself to the majority of model, frameworks and theories that exist.

I simply call it the 5 Cs and provide a short explanation of each of the 5 Cs below.  By the way if you google it you will come up with a myriad of 5Cs of Leadership, these just happen to be my 5!

Clarity of Vision

The vision is where it starts - what is your end goal?  What do you want to be known for?  Are you just turning up and working through the day without any though to the long term?  If so, you are making decisions based on convenience and probably take the easy path, rather than making the right decisions? 

People like to have a purpose and making a profit for someone else to enjoy is probably not at the top of their list.

Challenge 1: If you haven't got a clear vision and purpose, take some time to reflect and really thank about what you are trying to do - achieving targets is not good enough, leave a legacy behind!


Conviction is about determination and resilience, can you keep going when the going gets tough?  When results aren't going your way?  When people are fighting against your ideas and vision?  Thomas Edison once said ‘I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won't work!'.  Good leaders can accept and learn from failure, even when times are tough!

Challenge 2: Reflect on your resilience, look for ways to increase your resilience, this may include training or just making sure you take time out to go the gym or just enjoy life.


A vision in your head is just a dream! How well do your people understand and buy in to your vision (and you)?  It is no good just saying ‘I told them', telling does not mean understanding or buy in and silence does not mean assent. 

I hear so many organisations say ‘ we have an away day', which they believe will carry the message, it is not good enough though.  The message needs to be in everything we do!

Challenge 3:  Ask you people what they are trying to achieve.  You don't want a parrot-type repeating but an understanding that they can express through their words.


Charisma is not an X factor!  Current research suggests that showing an interest in others will significantly improve your likeability.  If you have friends then you have a level of Charisma!

Some people use their charisma to meet their own needs (Charismatic Leadership), others use it to improve the lives of others in many different ways (Transformational Leadership).

Challenge 4:  Consider how you use your charisma and harness it to provide Transformational Leadership, it is far more rewarding and generates higher levels of performance.


How well do you know your people?  Can you name them all, their spouses, their hobbies etc.?  Do you know them as people or employees?  Trust is a key component of leadership and feeling cared for is an essential element of the trust formula?  Do your people believe that you take an interest in their well-being?

Challenge 5:  Reflect on how well you show care?  Identify examples of how you show care and where you can demonstrate care more effectively.

By the way there are loads more Cs we could have considered such as:

  • Competent
  • Confident
  • Composed
  • Connection
  • Collaboration
  • Character

The list goes on, but as a starting point I think these 5 Cs provide enough challenge for the majority.

I hope you try the challenges and wish you luck in carrying them out.

I can only guarantee one thing, something might change if you carry out one challenge, nothing will if you don't do any of them.

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