April 19, 2023 5 Min Read
Uncertainty, Change, & How To Pivot
Innovative thinkers tell us that the rate of change twenty years from now will be four times faster than it is today. Leaders can certainly relate to this because the pace of change and uncertainty is accelerating in the economy and in business. Are you feeling the pressure of leading through uncertain and changing times? As a leadership development coach who’s experienced this with many clients, I want to assure you that you’re not alone.
How do you effectively lead, given that this is the new normal?
Volatility, Uncertainty, Complex, Ambiguous, & High Connectivity Environments
The conditions of our business and social environment are unlike past cycles or generations. The extremes in highs and lows – of the stock market, or climate change, and wild swings in established indicators are examples of increased volatility. This creates uncertainty because it breaks from past data and is less predictable. Adding to that are the increased interdependencies in the global economy, our supply chains, and the media which makes simple analysis unhelpful, and requires instead a complex systems approach to problem solving. Even with sophisticated analysis, ambiguity remains, due to contradictory data and a lack of clarity about stakeholders and their motives. High connectivity and the advent of social media has also added to the disruptions.
A TaskHuman leadership coach can provide valuable guidance and support as you navigate the challenges of leading in this environment. Here are some areas you can work on with your coach.
When things are uncertain, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day challenges and lose sight of the big picture. This is when having a “north star” or vision that guides the organization becomes significant. The strategy may need to change, but with continued focus on the vision, everyone can identify their priorities and stay focused on what’s most important. Focusing on the big picture helps leaders prioritize their time and resources, which is especially important during times of uncertainty when resources may be limited. Uncertainty may trigger cutbacks in spending out of caution, or a wait-and-see approach, both of which need to be balanced against the priorities.
You may not have the answers but that does not mean you stop communicating. In times of uncertainty, open communication is more crucial than ever. Whether it’s a global pandemic, an economic recession, or a political crisis, leaders need to guide their teams through the unknown and make the tough decisions that are essential for success.
Effective leadership requires clear and consistent communication. This is even truer during uncertain times. This means being transparent about what’s going on, what the challenges are, and what steps are being taken to address them. Be transparent and create a sense of urgency when change is required, and don’t hesitate to say “I don’t know” when questions arise that you can’t answer.
Practice Empathy & Understanding
Creating psychological safety when your people may be feeling anxious and looking for reassurance, guidance, and a sense that their interests and concerns are being heard and included is key. Clear and consistent communication helps build trust and credibility with your team members. It also ensures that everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goals.
Uncertain times and change can be stressful and challenging. Effective leaders take the time to listen to their team members’ concerns, empathize with their struggles, and provide support and flexibility where needed. Being empathetic and understanding also means being aware of the different ways people may be affected by the uncertainty.
Leading through uncertainty and change can be mentally and emotionally taxing. It’s important to prioritize self-care and take care of your well-being. Practice self-compassion, get enough rest, exercise, and engage in activities that bring you joy and help you recharge. Taking care of yourself will enable you to show up as a confident and resilient leader for your team.
Your people are watching you, looking for signals on how things are going. Leaders who excel in uncertain times are those who stay positive and optimistic, even in the face of adversity. This requires a mindset of looking for opportunities and possibilities, rather than dwelling on the negative. Staying positive and optimistic helps keep the team motivated and focused on the future. It also helps leaders stay resilient in the face of setbacks and challenges.
Be Adaptable & Flexible
As a leader you can demonstrate adaptability, flexibility, and resilience. Things can change quickly, and people need to be able to pivot as needed. This means being open to new ideas, being willing to experiment, and being able to make quick decisions when necessary. In environments of uncertainty and change, unexpected challenges and setbacks will occur. Mistakes will be made, and experiments will fail. A resilient leader can demonstrate how to use setbacks as a learning experience to pivot quickly and find new solutions. Role modeling these desired behaviors are essential for keeping the team on track and progressing.
Although it can present many challenges, change and uncertainty can also provide excellent opportunities for growth and development.
Your TaskHuman leadership coach can support your growth as a leader. Working together, you can enhance your leadership skills, build your confidence, and equip yourself with the tools to navigate the complexities of an uncertain and changing workplace in the following ways:
- Embrace change as an opportunity to innovate, transform, and adapt to new possibilities.
- Inspire your team by painting a clear picture that motivates and guides them.
- Approach uncertainty as a chance to learn, explore new perspectives, and gain valuable insights.
- Ask your team to be open to change and embrace ambiguity as an opportunity for growth and discovery, critical thinking, and learning.
- Foster a collaborative culture that encourages teamwork, inclusivity, and cooperation.
If you feel you could improve your skills in leading through uncertainty and change, a TaskHuman coach is a resource at your fingertips. Use the TaskHuman platform to connect with a coach – search by topic or name to book a call.
Book your session with Taiwo Olajide or another leadership coach today!