Hello SOTGC community,
I love helping young leaders develop their strengths. A typical concern is how to lead well in changing or uncertain times. We all know leadership exists because there is constant change in life. Within each of our lives and workplaces things are often changing, growing, or uncertain. When you have a team involved, your leadership becomes critically important. When there is no team around but it’s you and the plant, or your pet, practicing these keys for yourself will also be foundationally helpful.
Here are four keys that will help you go further faster as a leader!
- Be you
Only you can lead the way you do so don’t try to be someone else when things are uncertain. Your team needs to see you leading them because they trust you and you have the positional and relational power that helps the team gel. (Miss the power talk? Check out my post from last month.) To be you in times of uncertainty requires that you practice awareness of your shadow, or false self, and your personality weaknesses. We all have those and we need to be aware of how they can hijack our true self. We also need clear steps for helping ourselves remain in our best self.
Consider an overall rhythm of health that allows you to be a whole person during times of uncertainty. Maintain your emotional, physical, spiritual, intellectual, and relational health. Invite others to walk alongside you in your health rhythm.
- Provide clarity of mission
Anytime there is change, growth, or uncertainty there will be a lack of clarity. At those times it’s easy to try to alter things to meet the present change. While plans change, the mission doesn’t.
Tell stories of the beginnings—why the company/organization/nonprofit/ministry/group started in the first place. Remind everyone, including yourself, why it exists in the first place. Bring out the mission statement and encourage one another. There is no changing to the mission. Remembering the beginnings and reminding each other of the reason and the service that is needed/that you provide will bring clarity. It might also be a nice stoking of the inner fire as well.
- Lead with flexibility of plans
We often lean on planning and familiarity when things are up in the air. The downside of this is “planning needs to be flexible while clarity of mission remains constant,” says leadership growth expert, Andy Stanley. This tip and the one before come from Andy.
Most of the time there are multiple ways to achieve the present goal that arose during change, growth, or transition. Familiar plans might not be the best method. An example Andy shared is when his just-birthed organization was growing they found a piece of land that was perfect for the long-term growth and expected short-term expansion. The plan was always to stay out of debt and purchase with cash. Well the $5 million piece of property wasn’t going to wait for this startup to gather its first million, much less five million. So they were flexible with the plan to achieve the needed outcome for growth toward the constant mission. They currently occupy that property and utilize it to the fullest.
- Always share transparency in communication
We’ve heard it before as leaders and it’s ever so much more important in this case: communicate, communicate, then communicate again. Even if you have a stand-up meeting to share that there is no new news, that meeting is helpful for a team experiencing growth, change, or uncertainty. Saying “this is what we know and we will keep you updated when that changes” relieves anxiety and squashes assumptions.
Both good news and bad news needs to be delivered in person. Avoid text, email, and phone as the team needs to see your emotion and feel your tone. When you deliver news with this level of transparency and consistency, you will increase the team trust factor and provide an overall atmosphere of group-confidence.
Implement these four action items during times of growth, change, or uncertainty and your leadership will go further faster.
- Are you in a position to apply these four keys this week?
- When were you in a position that the leader did not follow these keys? How could you do things differently?
I’d love to hear from you.
Connect with me and let me know how it goes!