Process challenges are people challenges. They are issues or barriers that exist among members of a group, community or organization who face a common problem or opportunity. Process challenges are about how people work (or don’t) together. We think about process challenges as the problems behind the problems … or even the problems behind those.
As you diagnose a situation that requires leadership, expect process challenges. They exist regardless of what your group is working on. If you need people who think differently to speak up and be part of the solution, you will have process issues to deal with.
If feel stuck or dejected – if you aren’t making as much progress as you need – step back and pay attention to process. If you need to get diverse factions moving in the same direction, ask yourself: Is our process purposeful? Does everyone understand it? Is it clear to some and confusing to others? Is it too rigid? Are some people left out entirely? Who is being heard and who isn’t?
Remember, the problem that requires leadership likely looks completely different to one faction than another. Progress on tough challenges almost always involves some conflict, loss, risk, discomfort, and the need to let go of old ways before we know for sure what the new ways will be.
When you need an emotionally intelligent approach to leadership, understand the process challenges is a powerful diagnostic tool to draw on.