I’ve never met a leader who isn’t challenged once in a while. Unexpected circumstances can derail even your best-laid plans:

– One of your most productive employees quits.

– You suddenly have to deal with a health issue.

– You can’t find the right candidate.

– You need to cut budget.

– Employees are not engaged.

– Your employees still behave in silos


Just to mention a few.


Michael J. Dowling, CEO of Northwell Health, said in an article in the New York Times titled “If it can’t be done, you haven’t tried”:

You’re going to be thrown curveballs all the time. It’s question of how you respond.
Don’t get frustrated over it.
Roll with the punches.


Great advice.

Expecting challenges as a leader, doesn’t solve the challenges.

But it makes you less a victim.

Victim thinking undermines leadership.

But a challenge remains a challenge even if you had prepared yourself for some challenges.

So, what to do when a challenge hits?

Here are my top FIVE:


1. Keep Perspective

Although this challenge might feel likes the worst challenge ever, in five years time it won’t feel the same. Keep this quote of Anne Frank in mind:

I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.


2. Let Go

Be aware of what you can influence and what not. Don’t loose your time and energy on things that are outside your influence like the stock market or the work attitude of generation X, Y, or Z (your choice).

Ask yourself:

What can I influence?

Concentrate on that.


3. Increase Self-care

Most hallenges are not your fault and even if it feels like they were, they don’t make you a less valuable person or manager.

Do the opposite of what you’re inclined to do:

Increase your self-care.

You need it.


4. Take A Break

Bye bye busy-ness. Stop doing and take some quiet time to renew, reflect, and get inspired. Even if you only can take a time out for five minutes, it’s worth it.


5. Reach Out

All my clients may call or email me whenever they need me. Find someone who you trust and would like to have such a relationship with. Then when a challenge hits, reach out. Even if that person won’t be able to give you advice or knows anything about your challenge, talking about it helps you to get clear.

(Note: To learn more on how to structurally change yourself in positive directions, see my Aug. 28 2015 blog “Change or Die.”)


And what is your Top Five?

I would love to hear from you.