In the first article of this two-part series, we discussed some common obstacles that can prevent you from being a great leader, such as a lack of motivation and self-confidence.

Here, we’ll consider even more obstacles that can hold leaders back from achieving their potential and managing effective teams. Let’s dive in.

Lack of Management Skills

Leadership is about leading and motivating teams. But it’s also a core part of any managerial structure, even if you haven’t yet reached an executive or C-suite position. You need to be able to understand what your business is working toward.

If you can’t understand your company’s vision, you will struggle to lead your team effectively. It will prevent you from setting clear goals and outlining the expectations of your team, which could hinder productivity and progress.

What’s more, people management is a skill you need to learn to get the best from others. You may be a great project manager, but how do you react to people management? Can you identify when people are struggling to work well? Can you nip problems in the bud when there is an escalating issue between team members? Do your team members feel comfortable talking to you when they have a problem?

If your answer to the above questions is no, you could be sabotaging your leadership potential.

Poor Decision Making Capabilities and Failure to Act Quickly

Leadership is all about decision making. Some decisions may be difficult to make – especially when it comes to hiring and the termination of employment. But it would help if you considered every possible consequence of each decision, whether it relates to budget, resourcing or even software choices.

You need to work heavily on your decision making and problem-solving capabilities to improve your leadership skills. Failure to do so could impact how quickly you can respond to scenarios and issues as they arise.

An Inability to Mentor, Coach and Inspire Your Team

Leadership is about supporting others. It’s about helping others to grow and progress in their careers. But many people working in leadership roles focus only on themselves, rather than looking at the bigger picture.

Great leaders are those who can act as a mentor. They can inspire other people to want to learn more, and they can show recognition for people who are achieving great success. If you fail to do this, you could have significant issues relating to your leadership capabilities. This is because your team will feel demotivated and uninspired.

As a result, your staff retention may plummet, productivity will fall and innovation will likely cease.

Your Communication Skills Could Be a Big Barrier to Your Leadership Potential


The final obstacle that could prevent you from working as an effective leader is your communication capabilities. Leaders should be able to clearly communicate with team members which goals they’re working toward and why. They should also know how to communicate with each team member in a way that they prefer and helps them perform at their best.

Effective leaders know how to explain what needs to be done accurately, and they can easily talk to their team to explain their strengths and weaknesses. A failure to communicate clearly could mean that people misinterpret or misunderstand what they need to do. As a result, assumptions may start to be made and rumors could swirl, impacting the team morale and their ability to do their work.

There are a few specific obstacles relating to communication capabilities that you should consider, including:

Do You Know How to Share Negative News or Provide Constructive Feedback?

Often, leaders are tasked with communicating information to both team members and business leaders. How are you sharing that information with your colleagues if the news is constructive?

Are you anticipating their questions, and do you have answers ready? Can you reassure them or help them understand what they need to do to improve their skills?

Can You Resolve Conflict When it Arises?

Strong communication skills can help you deescalate situations and spot potential issues between colleagues. Can you talk calmly and clearly to people about any issues and explain how to resolve problems? Are you actively listening to what is being said and understanding what is not being said?

How Are You Sharing Information With Stakeholders?

It would help if you also looked at how you are communicating upward. For example, how are you taking the information from your teams and sharing that with those more senior to you, such as shareholders or C-suite executives?

Can You Train to Become a Better Leader?

Now you know what the three obstacles are to being a great leader, you should think about how you can overcome them.

Leadership skills can be learned and honed. You may wish to look at a range of training and development courses that can improve your skills. For example, various post-graduate programs may be available to help you, or you could look at online courses that allow you to reframe your thinking and improve your leadership style.

You could look at Training Industry Courses’ Leading Leadership Development Certificate, which is designed to help training managers develop effective leaders across the organization.

Alternatively, if you are keen to actively improve your leadership skills in smaller areas, then it may be wise to focus on the following areas:

  • Improving your communication skills.
  • Understanding how to encourage personal and professional growth.
  • Learning how to set clear goals and expectations.

As we’ve already explained, these are often the biggest obstacles that cause leadership failure. Therefore, you will naturally become a better leader by prioritizing these factors.

Is It Possible to Overcome Your Obstacles to Become a Better Leader?

Every leader has the potential to improve. But it starts with knowing what you need to improve and understanding how to do so. For example, we’ve noted that most leadership failures come down to issues relating to your own sense of self (such as risk aversion), a failure to understand core managerial aspects (e.g., poor decision making) and poor communication.

By focusing on these three area, you can accurately reflect on your own strengths and weaknesses, which will allow you to identify which training could be useful to improve your leadership skills.