There is one thing I know to be true. In uncertain and unpredictable times, the leaders who navigate with purpose, passion, humility, focus on their people’s health and well-being and have instilled strong values in their organisations will be the ones who will thrive during these challenging times.
Be adaptable and flexible
During challenging or uncertain times, stress and anxiety are high. Leaders need to be adaptable and flexible to meet the changing environment and the health and well-being of their people. The focus must be on navigating both your teams and individuals with compassion, kindness and empathy. Your team members are dealing with their own individual circumstances from health, financial pressures, home schooling and maybe even concerns about job security. By being adaptable and flexible, your people will feel supported, stay connected and continue to work hard and do their best for you and the organisation.
Share your vision
As a leader, sharing your vision is essential to inspire those around you and encourage them to focus on what matters most, what you want to accomplish and how you intend to get there, particularly in uncertain times. When you communicate your vision clearly and passionately you inspire, engage and motivate people to act with energy and purpose, bringing them together to work towards common goals not just for today and tomorrow, but for the long-term future of the organisation and its people.
Empower those around you
Leaders often think when things go wrong or in times of uncertainty, they need to have all the answers and do all of the heavy lifting and problem solving. Great leadership is about empowering and believing in your team’s talents and expertise to problem solve in a collaborative way, and to truly listen and value their opinions, ideas and perspectives. Empower those around you to share their ideas and knowledge, be experts in their field and bring new thinking to the table.
When things are tough, one of the most important things for a leader is to stay connected with their teams, and keep them connected to each other. Make it easy for people to reach out to you with questions or concerns, whether that’s via phone or email. It is important that people feel supported and safe and that they know they can reach out if they have issues or concerns.
Being personable, approachable and human is more important now than ever before. People react differently to uncertain and unpredictable times and it’s important to check in on your team, have open honest conversations about how they are feeling and be truly present. When leaders act in this way, it cascades throughout the organisation.Ensure you have open lines of communication that are available to everyone in the organisation, not just top tier management.
A leader’s attitude can be contagious. Great leaders stay positive and handle challenges and uncertainty with confidence, calmness and inspire others to do the same. A positive leader will look at uncertainty as an opportunity to learn and improve and to find new ways to grow. They have the ability to immediately transform negativity with their optimistic enthusiasm and inspire those around them to do the same.
People are inspired by what people do, not what they say, and there will not be a more critical time for leaders to step up and take action than in uncertain times. Actions speak louder than words. When a leader is all talk and no action, their words become empty and meaningless, and people will become disengaged and disillusioned. When leaders take action, it inspires those around them to follow suit.
Great leaders invite conversation which can unlock new ideas and different ways of thinking and working. A leader’s job is not only to inspire others, but to create an environment where people inspire each other through conversions and actions. Great leaders give everyone a voice and create a platform for two-way conversations when problem solving. People will feel more confident to share their ideas and communicate their views when they know their voice will be listened to. Great ideas and problem solving doesn’t just come from the top.
Lead with courage
Courage is what distinguishes great leaders from mediocre ones. Courageous leaders are willing to climb over obstacles, take risks, walk into the darkness, do what’s difficult and sometimes even attempt the seemingly impossible, particularly when times are full of uncertainty. Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to overcome fear.
Courageous leaders give everyone the confidence to believe in themselves and their abilities and forge a path forward that inspires others to follow even in the most uncertain times. During uncertainty it is important to be mindful, be intentional and be kind to your team — and yourself.