August 29

Eternal Leadership Conundrums: What You Can and Can’t Solve | WT #66


When I recently led a training workshop, I threw out a question that sparked some interesting discussion: “What are the problems a leader never quite solves?”

The responses were enlightening, revealing not only the challenges leaders grapple with but also the very human nature of leadership itself. So, let’s unpack some of these perennial issues and explore what’s solvable and what isn’t.

The Problems We Never Quite Tackle:

  • The Feeling You Could’ve Done More: It’s a sentiment that often haunts leaders, the notion that perhaps you could’ve done something else, something better. But you know what? Perfectionism is a never-ending road. The key is to make peace with doing your best in the moment.
  • The Quest to Make Everyone Happy: If you’re on a mission to please everyone, you’re setting yourself up for failure. At some point, you’ll have to make tough calls that not everyone will like, and that’s okay.
  • Making Yourself Redundant: This is a pillar of authentic leadership. If you’ve built a team that can run smoothly without you, you’ve actually succeeded, not failed. You’ve empowered others, a cornerstone of genuine, selfless leadership.
  • Mastering the Art of Teaching: Effective mentoring is a lifelong endeavor. No one becomes a perfect teacher overnight. What matters is the constant effort to improve, learn, and adapt your teaching methods.
  • Raising Your Children: As a parent and a leader, the desire to impart wisdom and values to your kids is ongoing. The challenges change as they grow, but the core endeavor remains the same.
  • Team Retention: No matter how great a leader you are, people will come and go. What’s important is to focus on creating an environment that people don’t want to leave, even if they eventually do.

So, where does this leave us? With the realization that some challenges will always be there, serving as our perpetual ‘work in progress’. But let’s not forget, these unsolvable problems aren’t roadblocks; they’re opportunities for growth, reflection, and improvement.

The Authentic Leadership Foundation is committed to supporting leaders like you in this journey. We offer various tools and a growing platform for you to continue these vital conversations, ask for timely, authentic feedback, and work towards practical solutions. Remember, authentic leadership isn’t a solo endeavor; it’s a collective pursuit.

So, are you ready to delve deeper into these leadership conundrums and perhaps discover more about your temperament and leadership style? We’ve got the resources and the community to help you do just that. Take the easy first step right here.

About the author 

Darren Smith

Darren Smith is Co-Founder of the Authentic Leadership Institute. He is a native Texan and a graduate of Dallas Jesuit and Texas A&M University. Over the past 25 years, Darren has visited 35 countries and led 100 strategy programs. He and his wife have five children.


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