Journalist Fareed Zakaria wrote the book, The Post-American World. One area of concern that was addressed was the belief that organizations are not adapting well to emerging challenges.

This is only one of the themes, but one we feel readily applies to leadership styles and skills.

Zakaria’s Guidelines for Success in the Face of Challenges

Choose. Choose priorities rather than trying to have it all.

  • Our comment: Have clear goals, ensure all behaviors and tasks support those goals, and understand you can’t be everything to everyone.

Build broad rules, not narrow interests. Recommit to international institutions and mechanisms.

  • Our comment: Set goals and standards, and then let your people excel – they don’t need (or want) to be told HOW to do something, but they do need clear expectations and the desired outcome.

Be Bismarck, not Britain. Maintain excellent relations with everyone, rather than offset and balance emerging powers.

  • Our comment: Build and maintain relationships, address differences in a healthy way, listen, and take more time to think of what “could” be done differently. Make an effort to relate and communicate to others in their terms and style.

Order à la carte. Address problems through a variety of different structures (e.g. sometimes UN, sometimes NATO, sometimes OAS).

  • Our comment: Understand the needs and goals of others. What are their strengths? How do they best add value? What end result are you looking for?  Do you have the right resources in place?

Think asymmetrically. Respond to problems (e.g. drug cartels, terrorists, etc.) proportionately and do not respond to bait (i.e. small attacks meant to draw attention).

  • Our comment: Expect and plan for conflict, be emotionally intelligent, know your hot buttons, remain controlled.  Think about what could de-rail you, and have a plan in place to address those challenges.

Legitimacy is power. Legitimacy creates the means to set agendas, define crises, and mobilize support.

  • Our comment: Leaders are authentic; they build trust, truly listen, communicate openly and consistently, and don’t have hidden agendas.  A complaint that we frequently hear is that too many leaders lack integrity.

All professions, all industries, and all positions are faced with challenges; it’s up to us as leaders to help anticipate and effectively manage them as they occur, and then produce success in the face of challenges.

QwikTip and QwikCoach

Each week we’ll partner with QwikCoach and provide the ability for you to reinforce or expand your knowledge of a prior topic.

Last week’s tip focused on 5 “Must Haves.”

Go to QwikTips to read more! There are two different versions–one for visitors and one for licensed QwikCoach users.

If you don’t have QwikCoach, it’s an excellent resource for growing your leadership skills remotely that you should consider.

Help turn your leadership knowledge into leadership action!