Perspectives

WHAT WE NEED FROM OUR LEADERS

What do we need from our leaders in these uncertain times? And, more importantly, what can we realistically expect of them in times of unprecedented crisis?
What do we need from our leaders in these uncertain times? And, more importantly, what can we realistically expect of them in times of unprecedented crisis?

WHAT WE NEED FROM OUR LEADERS

In these unsettled times, what are we looking for from our leaders? In some ways, what we are looking for from leaders in crisis is the same as what we are looking for at all times: confidence, resilience, direction, role-models, clear decisions and clarity.

However, in unsettled times the lens through which we look to leaders has a stronger focus. The stakes are higher, the decisions are more evidently impactful. At the same time, it becomes harder for leaders to deliver what we are looking for.

Uncertainty means clarity is harder to offer. Complexity means directions sometimes change and decisions need to be constantly reevaluated. Stress means they may not always be able to demonstrate resilience and role-model best practice – everybody slips up. And all of this combined can have a negative impact on our confidence in leaders.

So perhaps we need to change our expectations of our leaders, adapt what we want to see from them to reflect the current climate we are in.

What leaders can offer us in times in crisis

  1. Honesty: They can share the good, the bad and the downright scary. This may be hard for them to say and for us to hear, but as Rachel Botsman, author of ‘Who Can You Trust’ says “trust enables us to navigate uncertainty, place our faith in people and take leaps into the unknown”. By offering transparency, leaders will instil confidence and followership.
  2. Authenticity: Leaders may not constantly be able to display the kind of behaviours that they or we want to see. They are human too. However, if they can display authenticity in uncertainty: be open about their feelings, be clear about their concerns and be humble in their own ‘not knowing’, they will role-model the kind of mindset that will enable all of us to live better, work better, and navigate more easily through crisis.
  3. “This too will pass”: When leaders are honest and authentic, we can also look to them to offer us hope. They will have the credibility to say “we don’t know exactly what the future will look like, but we can say with certainty that we are heading there. Stay with us on the journey.” And this is where the Roadmap Through Uncertainty can be a guide for leaders. This framework outlines the journey leaders and organisations need to go through in order to navigate uncertainty. A must read for leaders who want to effectively lead their people through these challenging times.
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