It is relatively easier to lead an organization, a department and our teams during times when the market is stable, that opportunities and resources are available. With a clear vision we are able to align our projects and actions to succeed and flourish.
However, leading in a time of crisis or change is much trickier and it is during this time that we are best able to harness and nourish our leadership capability.
The VUCA model is useful to highlight the current situation that countries, organizations, teams as well as individual find themselves in.
Volatility: The challenge is unexpected, unstable and maybe for an unknown duration.
Uncertainty: Although there exists minimal information, the cause may be clear, yet the changes that may have to take place are yet unknown.
Ambiguity: There is no precedence for this occurrence, it is unknown as there can be no ready solutions.
Complexity: The situation has many connected parts, some may be predictable to a degree, but the volume of what is taking place can be overwhelming.
Taking a step forward and taking the lead may feel risky through such a time of crisis and change. However, this is the time when others will look to leaders to guide the way. How we manage this will depend on our own ability to lead ourselves. Our inner awareness will help us evaluate how we on an individual level are managing these uncertain times. This allows us to re-calibrate and understand what we need to do for ourselves to manage this more effectively? We begin not only to harness and develop our leadership capabilities; we also increase our emotional intelligence and ability to respond to the situation and others in a productive way.
Vision – maintain a vision for those we lead, even if this is a short-term vision for this time of crisis will give followers and understanding of the destination.
Understanding: Where you can create security for people so they can get on with their job and task at hand. Break down tasks. Ensure you are aware of circumstances for them that you may need to adjust your approach.
Clarity: Create clarity on what you do know. Accept what you do not know and make clear decisions based on information at hand.
Agility: Involve others, communicate as often as you can and get feedback. Let others know that things will continue to change and they will be informed.
Agile leaders accept they do not have the answers and are still willing to stand firm with their approach and decisions, despite not knowing the outcomes. Those that we may have considered to be leaders may fall by the wayside. Some whom we least expect may begin to shine. Our willingness to learn, to be adaptable in our thinking and respond to uncertainty and constant change is crucial during this time of adversity and upheaval.