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What was your biggest leadership challenge this past year?

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: What was your biggest leadership challenge this past year?

  • The business climate was tough and competitive: 26.72%
  • We had internal turmoil in the organization: 44.9%
  • I had big personal leadership challenges: 11.57%
  • My team members had challenges: 7.99%
  • Nothing — it was an amazing year: 8.82%

We have met the enemy and he is us.  It seems like the biggest challenges we faced were from within.  The good news is, we have more control over those types of challenges than we do external ones.  The bad news is we’re causing ourselves more problems than we’re solving.  If you’re in this large group facing internal challenges, identify them quickly and resolve to fix them or prevent them in the coming year.  The business climate is tough enough without adding new challenges.  Be the first in your organization to resolve to reduce these internal sources of friction so you can spend your energies competing in the marketplace instead of overcoming self-inflicted turmoil.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS and author of “Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results” and “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.”