How to lead effectively during uncertain times
We are in the midst of a challenging situation that has no modern-day precedent. Good leaders are required in organisations of all shapes and sizes, including businesses, governments, hospitals, schools, religious groups and charitable organisations. We need people who can help others to overcome their weaknesses and fears to work together and accomplish something that they couldn't do alone.
How does a leader inspire and motivate in an uncertain environment? Here are some ideas:
Provide a specific vision and a clear path
When there is constant tension and worry, outstanding leaders urge people to serve a purpose in a specific direction. They delegate defined tasks and duties and remind their staff that their job is essential and valuable. Uncertainty evaporates, and purposeful actions take precedence when people know where they're heading and have a strong sense of the purpose behind what they're doing.
Help people to understand their anxiety
It's normal for people to cope with stress by trying to push it away, particularly in such a significant, long-lasting and tiring catastrophe as the pandemic. Some people are hesitant to confront their exhaustion or even to express their concerns. The most effective leaders demonstrate healthy ways of recognising and dealing with problems.
Motivate others to confront their concerns and take action
You can't fix an issue unless you confront it, and you can't find a resolution by avoiding it. As a leader, you are responsible for empathising with the worries of your team and directing your people to action.
Highlight the importance of adaptability and review
When confronted with a problem you've never faced before, there's no blueprint or expertise to direct your actions. You are likely to encounter blind alleys, reversals and failures, but they all play a part in navigating the crisis. Be consistent in your words and actions, assuring your team that the problem you're all facing provides an opportunity to achieve great things and be better together.
Be a flexible leader who can navigate a dynamic terrain, evaluate what you've learned, and re-evaluate your expertise and strategy.
TAKEAWAY: A good leader will see a crisis as an opportunity. They will go above and beyond to make the best of it so that the team can emerge more resilient and successful.