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The Hardships of Leadership

There are millions of inspiring stories out there of people who have worked hard to become the best version of themselves. We often read about today’s leaders’ stories and there’s a large focus on everything that went right, but not everything is a bed of roses.

Everyone’s leadership journey is different, let’s go over some common obstacles leaders face every day.

 

  1. Fear of failure: Insecurity affects everyone, leaders are no exception. It can be especially hard to deal with when you have a large number of people depending on you. However, mistakes allow us to learn and grow. Accepting them as part of the process is important.

“It is hard to fail but it is worse to never have tried to succeed” – Theodore Roosevelt (26th President of the United States)

 

  1. Lack of communication: Not being able to openly communicate with those around you may affect productivity and lead to conflict. Many leaders sometimes feel disconnected from their team and the best way to fix it is by being transparent about their plans and strategies, encouraging honest feedback and allowing two-way conversations. Pro tip: communicating with people with different levels of authority requires you to be versatile and adapt your speech to each situation

“The difference between mere management and leadership is communication” Winston Churchill (UK’s ex Prime Minister)

 

  1. Dealing with pressure: Managing people’s expectations is something lots of leaders struggle with. It’s essential to acknowledge your feelings in order to control the way you react, since it’s not unusual to be less patient and more defensive in stressful situations. If you let your anxiety go unchecked you may hurt the relationship you have with your co-workers.

“We discover our character through decisions under pressure” – Dan Millman (Author)

 

  1. Burnout: When someone’s truly passionate about what they’re working on it’s easy to push too hard. The truth is, if you burn yourself out, you won’t be leading anyone. Keep a healthy balance between work and life. Considering an excessive amount of work hours a symbol of dedication and courage is wrong.

“We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of the time we put in”– Arianna Huffington (co-founder of The Huffington Post)

 

  1. Delivering bad news: Leadership positions are filled with hard decisions. Being able to deliver bad news in an empathetic and clear way will allow you to find the next steps and not negatively impact the workplace’s culture.

“Better to have bad news that are true than good news we made up” – Eric Ries (Entrepeneur)

 

  1. Keeping it human: Vulnerability isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of humanity. You’re not a machine who doesn’t make mistakes. Allowing the people you’re leading to see that gives them an opportunity to remember no one expects them to be perfect, contributing to a supportive and compassionate place of work. Vulnerability is about authenticity and it demonstrates high emotional intelligence.

“A leader, first and foremost, is human. Only when we have the strength to show our vulnerability can we truly lead” Simon Sinek (Author and inspirational speaker)

 

It’s not easy to be a leader. We will always find obstacles along the way that we need to face as challenges instead of problems. Being open to learn and grow from them is extremely important in order to inspire and empower others.

What better way to start your own leadership journey than through a volunteering experience or internship abroad? Visit aiesec.org to check the opportunities we have for you!

How to avoid recruitment challenges in 2019

The start of the 4th Industrial Revolution calls for a globalised workforce to fuel proper training and research to create new technologies and innovations at a faster pace than ever before. This unleashes a global competition of young talents as start-ups endeavour to innovate the next ‘big thing’. With little resources, time and often an exorbitant amount of work, recruiting can seem like a big burden and challenge to your start-up. In this post, I would like to point out the top four common recruitment challenges and talk about how to overcome them.

 

Lack of time and HR experience

The most common start-up struggle is the lack of time you have to not only carry out your day-today routine tasks like your services or product development, but also to cater to the small things that will make your business grow – like recruitment as this involves creating attention for the job opening, answering all enquiries, pre-screening, interviewing and ultimately choosing the perfect person for the job. That’s another thing, the lack of recruiting experience. As a young start-up how do you know who is truly the right person for you with similar values, vision and can keep up with the vigorous speed of your growing business.

How can you combat this? The important thing here is time management and efficiency. Scouting for the right person needs as to be attended to by using online channels, getting external help or even word of mouth within the internal start-up bubble. You have the whole “start-up” world to your disposal!

 

Unknown Start-up

As a birthing start-up, it is impossible to have much of a reputation. But presence is important, people want to know that they are contributing to something bigger especially when the nature of a 21st century start-up is more outcome/problem solving/efficiency enhancing based than it is luxury based. So be present as much as possible, online and on ground. Be present at meet ups, be present in different online entrepreneurship groups, make a name for yourself and meet people in different branches in the start-up scene – you might just find the assistance you are looking for.

 

Limited budget

Let’s be honest, one of the key three struggles a start-up faces are its finances, time and human capacity. But similar to my previous point, it’s time to whip your PR skills. With an incredibly close knit community, you’d be surprised how fast the word can spread like wildfire across the community! Think of perhaps getting a young intern that is eager to learn and experience the entrepreneurial lifestyle who is just as skilled and committed as a graduate. The good thing is that with short term programmes international students may be able to intern in your start-ups during their break which can give your business some exposure to the international consumer market.

 

Formalities

As fancy as hiring an international may sound, it also comes with a lot of formalities. The EU has made things easier for hiring on a continental scope, but formalities go beyond visas. There are contracts that need to be signed, insurance that need to be settled, if we talk about freshly graduated international students it would seem necessary to find them a place to stay or at least assist in house hunting. There is an entire list that goes beyond ‘just hiring’. Again, get help. There are a couple of organisations that assist with these formalities and some even take care of the whole recruitment process for you. For more check out Empower Austria, which will run again for the 6th time this Summer.  

 

The important thing to remember is that you are not alone. With the booming start-up market, I’m sure that you can find someone to talk to regarding your problem and the amazing thing about this tight knit community is that it allows you to share your experiences and give advice to each other. Also there are so many institutions that cater to young start-ups, do some research and I assure you, you will find the right person for your start-up!