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Leading through uncertainty

Being the leader that employees want to follow in uncertain times requires high levels of self-assuredness and, believe it or not – creativity

Being the leader that employees want to follow during times of uncertainty requires high levels of self-assuredness and creativity.

Executives able to take ownership of each shifting tide using adaptive ingenuity will be the flag bearers of dedicated, energised teams. The less proactive, who tread water while waiting for more solid ground, perpetuate team insecurity and allow outside forces to shape their fate.

The following 5 points outline steps you can take to ensure that your team is motivated to maintain high performance levels through the hazy moments of ambiguity.

  1. Be inventive

    It’s imperative, that out of the murk, you provide your team with a sense of clarity and this requires being imaginative and visionary. Do the best you can with whatever information you have at this point.

    Create an end goal and desired result based on the situation as it stands today, so that you have a framework upon which to anchor your current decisions and actions, even though they may need to change tomorrow.

  2. Be supple

    Your degree of ability to be flexible, adapting and open to change in an atmosphere of uncertainty relates to personal style, so inherent to some, but not default for others. Your emotional response will be unique to you. Do you succumb or surmount? Do you see the situation as a threat or a challenge? Are you out of control or in control? Do you choose to tread or swim?

    If you’re able to summon a mindset of optimism, opportunity and proactivity, you’ll have the best chance to succeed in engendering trust and commitment.

  3. Be deliberate

    During periods of uncertainty, teams suffer a sense of loss of legacy security and grounding in what ‘was’. This is the time to demonstrate strategic prowess.

    Be purposeful in setting new goals and re-calibrating the team’s direction. Build a solid plan to support the vision that is to become their new reality. Be comfortable choosing an alternative route or a new destination as the situation morphs and you have new information to play with.

  4. Be bold

    Communicate your strategy with passion, conviction, and excitement. Role model the behaviours you wish to see in your team, without concerns about failure or success. Drive the team with courage and purpose, staying cool and centred. Your energetic presence will become contagious.

  5. Be ready

    Your key to success will be the ‘art of anticipation’ – refuse to be blindsided. Constantly scan the horizon for signs of possible change that might throw the current, comfy status quo in the bin.

Being a dynamic leader in murky times requires a confident, purposeful, can-do, follow-me mindset. This can be challenging when the attributes required to achieve this have to fight against the natural tendency to play a ‘wait and see’ game.

The successful leader will be the one capable of pushing through these testing times by being flexible, creative, courageous, proactive and passionate about a new vision. In doing this, they will have the best chance at generating trust and continued commitment from their team.

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