Management and Leadership Success Means Facing Challenges

Most managers and leaders will agree that there are no shortage of challenges and obstacles for success, How do you Cope? You improvise, adapt and overcome the problems.

When I was in the Navy on a Landing Ship Tank, we ferried the marines from Okinawa back to Japan.  I had the opportunity to meet and get to know a number of them, and while they were very gunge-ho, they were also well trained and resolute.  I was glad they were on our side!

Here is an excerpt from a very good article at Investors.Com describing how the marines motto can be used in almost any organization to face challenges.

Be Like The Marines To Improvise, Adapt And Overcome.

Tips on adapting your company and people to challenges:

 Deputize employees. Agile leaders, teams and organizations do not miss opportunities or slow their response time because “they are waiting on approval, or for someone with the correct job description to become available,” Meyer emphasized. Effective executives hire and coach others to lead and respond to opportunities and challenges as they arise.

 Cross-train them. A solid way leaders at all levels become more agile, Meyer said, is to regularly seek out new opportunities and assignments: “UPS and many other organizations have a recruit-from-within policy that is designed to ensure their leaders rotate through a wide range of experiences, from package delivery to leading a team in another country. Such experiences build competence and capacity to be effective when things don’t go as planned.”

Key Management Skill is to Improvise

Wikipedia Definition: “Improvisation” is the process of devising a solution to a requirement by making-do, despite absence of resources that might be expected to produce a solution. In a technical context, this can mean adapting a device for some use other than that which it was designed for, or building a device from unusual components in an ad-hoc fashion.

The ability to improvise may be a key skill in management 101. Plans and projects just don’t always go as expected even when well conceived with back-up plans.  Many times the clock or deadline won’t allow for ample time to fix or review plans.  Taking action when facing an immediate challenge means switching to quick solution mode.  Staying cool, involving key members of the team, buying time, quickly moving in another direction…these are winning management actions.

Adapting to Changes and New or Unexpected Directions

When faced with changes or unexpected impediments to a project or system, a manager and theoir key team members need to quickly get their heads together and evaluate how best to adapt to the road blocks.  The team interaction should be wide open to brainstorming the possible solutions.

Getting ideas and feedback from the team and other subject matter experts assures the manager that the best possible adaptation is implemented.

The more effective a manager is at pulling the team together and focusing on solutions not problems, allowing for any valid idea or solution to be reviewed, will make the team more responsive and resilient in future situations.

Overcoming Challenges is a Management Leadership Characteristic

There are many common disappointments for managers, such as under performing employees, budget cuts, changes in plans, deadline advances, limited resources to name a few.  There are any number of unexpected disappointments that can’t even be anticipated.

Given this reality, developing a leadership attitude that says to the business unit,

“It’s unfortunate that this happened. We will be judged not on our disappointment but on our reaction.  This is our opportunity to demonstrate our ability to adapt, to be creative and to utilize our best team work to develop a solution and move forward.”

Everyone on the team is watching the manager and his/her reaction and will take their attitude cue from how they perceive the manager is reacting.  Think of a level of reaction that portrays a “crisis management” ability and confidence…this happened, let’s pinpoint our options and figure out how best to deal with the matter.

This is about motivating and leading the business unit or team to find solutions that can over-come the challenge (crisis) in order to find a best efforts approach and minimize the negative results. Quick actions. Open communication. Brainstorming ideas.  This is the formula.

Leadership means being the focused lion leading the team to the best solution.

crisis management

(Image by Tom Eversley-

Managers and leaders are on center stage when change, problems, obstacles to established objectives occur.  Will you be the Lion or the Sheep?






Michael D. Moore is the publisher of Management By Delegation and is a veteran executive with 40+ years in the Banking and Insurance Industries. A devoted entrepreneur, using his business experience to provide resources for managers and leaders at all levels. For the last 5 years, he has built a growing web presence for helping people with personal and professional development. To learn more about these advanced concepts & join our group Click here 5 Must Have Management Skills

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