District 41 Toastmasters

Navigating Leadership: A journey of growth through resilience

Leadership invites challenges. As a leader, one must welcome them as they are the key to one’s growth. Recently, I have understood how it is fundamental to embrace this truth in order to overcome obstacles.

How? Obviously, all you need to teach these lessons is someone you could describe as a ‘difficult’ colleague. Over the past few months, my resilience has been put to the test. Challenges came with the co-workers: in the form of pessimism, prejudice, a non-cooperative attitude, and the necessity to show the other person up.

However, if years of being in leadership roles in Toastmasters had taught me anything, then, it was to refrain from impulsive actions no matter how much I wanted to pour a pan of boiling water onto that person

Leave, fight or complain – these are not viable options. So, onto solution mode. First, listen – listen with the objective to understand any underlying reasons for their behavior. Then, try and craft an open and transparent communication channel – acknowledge their perspective while standing your ground. Finally, explain or discuss the way forward, all while maintaining professionalism, integrity and emotional intelligence at all times is crucial for a harmonious work environment.

  • The situation I faced could be faced by any one of you, so, here are some key pointers that you can apply to your hurdles:
  • Adopt a patient and open-minded approach to facilitate a positive resolution. Showing genuine interest, you may uncover the cause of their negativity and work towards a solution
  • Arrange one-on-one meetings to discuss concerns, set expectations and provide constructive feedback while reinforcing teamwork
  • Lead by example – your behavior will set the benchmark, encouraging them to emulate positive traits
  • Embrace conflict resolution strategies – Instead of avoiding conflict, try to carve out a way forward to solve it
  • At times, despite best efforts, some may remain resistant to change but it is important not to lose hope; continue your support and guidance but be prepared to make tough decisions ahead if their actions impact your team’s overall morale and/or performance

Navigating leadership with difficult co-workers can indeed be challenging but remember, it is also an opportunity for growth and development. By adopting the above strategies, we can empower ourselves and our team to overcome obstacles and thrive amidst adversity.

A true leader shines brightest during toughest challenges; so embrace them – for it shall shape you into a better leader.

Aastha Shrestha
Laxmi Bank Toastmasters Club