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Steve Jobs once said, ‘If you want to make everyone happy, don’t be a leader, sell ice cream.’ This quote highlights the challenge that comes with being in a position of leadership, as it’s virtually impossible to please everyone. It underscores the inherent difficulty in satisfying the diverse expectations and preferences of a group, making effective leadership a formidable task. In this article, we’re going to discuss the seven significant challenges faced by new leaders. From managing relationships and decision-making to navigating communication hurdles and personal development, emerging leaders encounter a range of obstacles as they step into their new roles. We’ll explore these challenges and provide insights on overcoming them.

Challenges Faced by New Leaders

New leaders, supervisors, or managers face numerous challenges as they transition from their previous roles, in which they excelled. Let’s explore these challenges and how to overcome them:

  • Balancing Colleague Relationships: New managers face the delicate task of managing their colleagues. They must strike a balance between maintaining collegiality and asserting their authority. It’s not necessary for new leaders to sever ties with their colleagues or overcompensate in their new roles. Instead, they should confront the situation openly. By addressing the change directly and avoiding unnecessary awkwardness, new managers can foster trust and effective communication among team members while helping them adapt to the altered power dynamic. Authenticity is key to building these relationships.
  • The Urge to ‘Prove Themselves’ as Managers: A common mistake among first-time managers is the persistent need to prove themselves to others. However, this urge can sometimes steer them off course. Instead, they should focus on continuously developing and demonstrating their skills and expertise while maintaining a balance between personal growth and effective professional management.

Challenges faced by new leaders

  • Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: Imposter syndrome is a common challenge, especially for new leaders, causing a lack of confidence and doubts about their worthiness in a leadership role. It can manifest in various ways, such as self-doubt, leading to indecisiveness, or a belief that they must handle everything alone, hindering them from seeking necessary support. To conquer imposter syndrome, seek evidence of your capabilities in feedback from your line manager or peers. Remember that you were entrusted with the role for a reason. Continuously work on honing your skills in areas where you find challenges.
  • Developing a Leader’s Mindset: Many first-time managers are promoted based on their exceptional individual contributions. However, excelling as an individual contributor doesn’t automatically equate to possessing the skills necessary for effective leadership. This transition can be challenging. Unfortunately, the transition to a management role often lacks sufficient leadership training. To develop a leader’s mindset, first-time managers should acknowledge that their previous skills and talents were instrumental in their success but may not all directly apply to effective leadership. They must carefully evaluate which skills from their previous role can be adapted to excel as a leader.
  • Making Tough Decisions: As a leader, you will inevitably encounter situations that demand tough decisions. These decisions may involve making unpopular choices or taking actions that might upset someone but are essential for the overall well-being of the business. During such moments, it’s common to feel isolated and ill-equipped for the challenges that lie ahead.  In these times, take a deep breath and remember that doing what’s right doesn’t always receive immediate consensus or approval.

Challenges faced by new leaders

  • Seeking Approval: Having a desire to be liked is not a hindrance to leadership. However, it does mean that you might encounter moments of discomfort. As a leader, some of the decisions you make may not sit well with everyone, but that doesn’t inherently make them wrong. It’s crucial to exhibit empathy toward others’ feelings, but it’s equally important to prioritise earning respect for your leadership abilities over seeking constant approval.
  • Adapting to Diverse Personalities and Objectives: Managing a team can be a complex task since team members possess diverse personalities and objectives. Recognising that a one-size-fits-all management style is ineffective is vital. Some team members may require a personalised approach. To equip first-time managers for sustained success, organisations should offer them comprehensive training, encompassing conflict resolution, mentorship, and effective communication.

These are just a handful of the challenges that new leaders may encounter on their journey into leadership roles. While these challenges are common, they can be overcome with the right strategies and a commitment to personal and professional growth.

Managers play a multifaceted role that goes beyond simply overseeing daily operations and task delegation. They must skillfully navigate the balance between leadership and meeting their employees’ expectations. Achieving this equilibrium is essential for the success and prosperity of a business.

Regenesys Leadership Programmes for New Leaders

Regenesys is at the forefront of developing innovative leaders, to empower new leaders in today’s dynamic business landscape. Our programmes are made to address the unique challenges faced by individuals stepping into leadership roles for the first time or for seasoned leaders who need to brush up their skills.

Programs for new leaders

Our New Managers Programme equips participants with a diverse array of essential skills pivotal for effective leadership. This course guides individuals in understanding conscious leadership principles, navigating strengths and weaknesses with clarity, mastering emotional intelligence techniques, and more. In parallel, the Middle Managers Programme focuses on developing crucial management competencies for fostering high-performing teams and efficiently overseeing medium-sized business units.

At Regenesys, our leadership programmes are aimed at empowering leaders at various career stages. We believe that leadership is an ongoing journey of growth and adaptation, necessitating the development of skills and mindsets to excel in today’s dynamic business landscape while ensuring leaders are prepared to lead with competence and integrity. Our philosophy revolves around finding the right balance between being liked and being respected for successful leadership.


  1. org. (2020). 3 Challenges New Managers Face and How Training Can Help
  2. Forbes (2023). 15 First-Time Manager Challenges And How To Overcome Them
  3. BetterUp Blog (2022). How to Deal with These 17 Common Leadership Challenges
  4. Regenesys Corporate Education (2023). New Managers Programme
  5. Regenesys Corporate Education (2023). Middle Managers Programme


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Neo Webb

Dip Media Practices Content Writer | Regenesys Business School


Dip Media Practices Content Writer | Regenesys Business School

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