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  • Writer's pictureSusan & Renée

Leading During Times of Uncertainty

We’ve been discussing the challenges that come when living with uncertainty. Whether it's due to global political events, economic fluctuations, or extreme weather patterns, uncertain times take a toll on our physical, mental and emotional health.


For leaders, weathering these challenges is exponentially harder. Not only must leaders manage their own anxieties brought on by uncertainty, but they must also steer their organization through uncharted territory, making decisions that have profound implications for many people.


In addition to caring for themselves, using strategies like those we discussed last week, the following practices can help leaders navigate unpredictable circumstances.


Empathy and Understanding: Uncertain circumstances breed anxiety like wildfire in the workplace, spreading seeds of doubt, fear, and disengagement. Keep this in mind as you communicate with staff and respond to their concerns. Actively listening and showing genuine compassion will help ground the team with a sense of belonging and support.

Transparent Communication: Uncertainty thrives in the absence of information. As a leader, it's paramount to maintain open lines of communication with your team. Communicate clearly and frequently, sharing what you know and acknowledging what you don't know. Transparency amidst ambiguity builds trust and helps alleviate anxiety.


Focus on Core Values: Amidst uncertainty, it's easy to be reactionary, especially if anxiety has taken root. It's precisely during these times that values become the North Star for how to respond. Company values help guide decisions and serve as anchors for teams.


Differentiate the Data: Making decisions during uncertain times is especially difficult. Something that was once “known” and assumed to be true, may now be in question. Therefore, it’s important to consider the information you are getting. Do your best to distinguish between what is factual and what is anecdotal. Remember that emotions often run high when there is ambiguity. Be on the lookout for how emotional narratives are filtering into the information you are sorting through.

Identify Next Steps: While it can be tempting to do extensive future planning as a way to assure yourself it will all be ok, this may simply not be realistic and can waste precious energy. Like driving through fog, turning your brights on only makes the path more unclear. Instead focus on the immediate next steps. This also helps dissolve immobility and move you into productive activity.

Zoom Out. Though we discussed this earlier it is especially important for leaders to remember the natural tendency of the brain to get tunnel vision when under stress. Making a deliberate effort to look at the whole picture can help you think outside the box leading to valuable insights or uncovering overlooked resources. This could include questions such as:

What is going well? 

What strengths do we have that could be applied to this situation?

What potential partnerships or collaborations could be useful right now?

What can be done to help sustain us during this challenge?

Above all, don’t try to go it alone. Remember that G2 Solutions is here if you need support. 

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