Hello SOTGC community,
This past week I’ve had several conversations with women in leadership on leading in uncertain times. So today let’s chat a bit on leading well during times of great change.
When things are certain in our workplaces, we need and provide management. When there is any uncertainty or change, we need and provide leadership. This is a distinct difference in relating with others at work.
Here are four keys I suggest to providing healthy leadership in uncertain times.
- Clarity of mission—uncertainty invites us to focus on the “what if’s” and anxiety typically dominates; while clarification helps us remember provision in the past. We can bring strong leadership by reminding others of our shared mission. Discuss why we are here, why we started (this company, this project, etc.), and what gets us going together. By sharing clarity of mission we can increase belief and confidence. Looking back at the mission and the provision in the past gives insight, discipline, and motivation to move forward.
- Flexibility of plans—we all know leadership means providing guidance during constant change. To help us all get to the goal we provide strategy. Strategy is not programming our next efforts, strategy is the next step we take while keeping our eye on the end result. Often times our reliance on strategy can become a hindrance though if we are not flexible with the plans. We can think, “it must be done this way because all the metrics point to this will get us there.” When there is great change, our plans need to include options for additional modes or possible means. We can still get to the strategic end result by considering an option that better fits the current needs and resources.
- Transparency in communication—Uncertainty brings anxiety, and anxiety breeds suspicion. We often think that when we have news to share, that’s when we will share it, but those of us who have been in roles of leadership long enough know that is the best way to increase workplace gossip, and gossip kills productivity. Instead, those we lead need to hear what we know when we know it. Consider including phrases like “Right now ….”, “As soon as we know …. ”, “I’m sure you feel stress .…”, “Let me reassure you of .…” During times of uncertainty it is nearly impossible to over-communicate when it is done with clarity.
- Honest appraisal of limits—the best leaders know their limits and honestly live within these areas. That includes what I call the 5 Basics (healthy intake, output, social, sleep, and sun) in regular needed intervals. When you honor the limits of yourself as a whole person in your mind, body, soul, and spirit you can fully be present and your brain can work at its optimum level. Honestly appraising your limits also includes staying in your zone/lane/grace and delegating routinely. Remember, a healthy leader is an effective leader. And a peaceful brain is a wise brain. Lastly, include others in your limit awareness so they can help you be mindful of when you might be redlining in stress or compassion fatigue.
Those first three keys are from Andy Stanley, who offers Life Lessons over Lunch through http://www.lifelessonsoverlunch.com/ . The last one comes from our work at Streams where we take the discipline of living as whole people into every area of life.
Today, take a moment to review how you are doing in each one of these areas.
Next, ask a fellow leader to chat with you on your leadership styles and coach each other. If you have a healthy relationship with someone you lead, invite a 360 approach to input.
Lastly, check out and apply a resource to help you develop your leadership skill. Andy Stanley’s resource is one of thousands. If point #4 is a challenge, review my previous post of a Life Rhythm.
In uncertain times, we can be the leaders we are designed to be. Want to share a leadership moment or question? Join our SOTGC Society LinkedIn group where Women In Business are sharing advice and supporting each other.