How Leaders Lead in Times of Uncertainty

Copyright Syda Productions

Copyright Syda Productions

Uncertainty comes with change and with change comes a bundle of mixed emotions. The entrepreneur waking up at night wondering how they will pay their bills. The leader who is pacing the floor while sweat drips from their brow as they anxiously await the board meeting to make a big announcement. Big announcements, forecasts, and crystal balls do not guarantee specific results. Today more than ever, leaders are faced with the task of leading others when  they are not even sure of the outcomes. They must display confidence and trust in themselves.

“Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.”
Tony Schwartz

Change is a constant and represents progress. Therefore, uncertainty will always exist to a certain percentage. As a leader, I know there are several things a leader can do to lead others during times of uncertainty:

  1. Focus on the strengths of your people and organization. You have people on your team that have all sorts of knowledge, skills, and abilities. Have you tapped into this resource to its full extent? Ask for their recommendations. Ask you customers for their input.
  2. Face Your Fears. It is okay to share your fears with others. It makes you real. You can share how you have overcome your own fears so you can be the leader they need you to be. Minimize the risks or obstacles you may face.
  3. Arm Yourself with the Facts. Share the facts you have collected. Transparent communication is key. When your people know that you have a plan, they will feel more secure and trust that you are doing what is best.
  4. Seek more knowledge. Continue to do your research and gain more information about how decision will impact the people you lead. Seek out assistance from people who know more about a subject than you. Ask for help – most people are willing to help someone especially when they are using their expertise.
  5. Take Action. Action steps and asking the right questions help develop some certainty and allow you to make better decisions. Taking action moves you out of the paralysis mentality and into solution focused leadership where people feel empowered.

The act of taking the lead and being curious about the world around you allows you to embrace and face fears and navigate the unknown. Asking questions stimulates the brain to start thinking of solutions.

In what ways can I make more money to pay the bills?

How can I involve my team in coming up with a solution as I make this big announcement?

Without action, you are guaranteed – a result – an outcome that you may or may not have wanted. You always have a choice. Taking decisive action positions you for greater certainty. Embrace it! Know this – When nothing is 100% sure, anything is possible!

Leaders create a vision of certainty from where they are to where they wish to be.

How do you face or lead in times of uncertainty?

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