Leadership involves influencing, and enabling people towards a goal. This is usually a very huge responsibility. Leading in uncertain times makes the responsibility complex because it requires special skills and a focus on what is within control.
The opposite of uncertainty isn’t certainty rather, it is the willingness to accept the situation
It’s obvious we need openness and willingness to embrace change that comes with uncertainties. Jude Jennison, Founder Director of Leaders by Nature Ltd, in his uncertainty research listed tips that leaders must try not to forget during uncertainties.
Be human – Recognize how your emotions impact your behavior and that of others in the team. Look after yourself and take time out when you need to. This might be as simple as taking a deep breath in the middle of a meeting to stay grounded. Do whatever serves you and the team. Above all, be kind, always. v
- Build trust –Trust that disconnection and resistance are part of the process in uncertainty and find ways to help people feel safe to share their experience. Trust that everyone is doing their best and make space for differences of opinion. v
- Create a framework – Focus on what is known. Provide clarity and direction for yourself and your team and be honest when you don’t have the answers. Stay open to possibilities and opportunities, prepare for different potential outcomes and be flexible as new insights emerge. v
- Co-create the future – Encourage exploration, collaboration and experimentation. Be willing to slow down and explore the here and now. Let go of the past and create the future from the known and include all the voices in the system. v
- Connection and support – Reach out to those whose approach may differ and may challenge you and your thinking. Notice where people disconnect, give them space to do so when they hit overwhelm and help them re-engage. Ask for help when you need it. v
- Listen and dialogue – Pay attention to what is unsaid, to the values and beliefs that underpin how people behave. Seek to understand the experience of others as it may differ from your own. Understand other perspectives and be willing to change your mind. v
- Lead from your heart and soul – Have the courage to step into the unknown wholeheartedly and with enthusiasm. Be willing to fail, recover and try again and encourage others to do the same. v
- Stay with discomfort of uncertainty – Be willing to stay in the heated discussions and help others stay engaged. Take time out when you need it but stay engaged with the team. Create space for people to disconnect to reduce their overwhelm. Encourage them to re-engage as soon as their stress reduces so they feel valued.
“Worthy to note, uncertainty creates an opportunity to improve on the status quo. It encourages deeper connection and understanding. Leaders can grow. Teams can align. When people are heard, understood and valued, their commitment to the team and the support increases”
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