Constant change, uncertainty as well as the complexity of processes have been the buzzwords of recent years. How to deal with uncertainty? While the pursuit of development is necessary, the dynamics with which this occurs today are surprising, even to leaders. What was the backbone of their business just a few years ago is now completely useless knowledge.

How to deal with uncertainty? – table of contents:

  1. Bet on trust
  2. There is no perfect leader
  3. The team is potential – harness it
  4. Treat change as an opportunity, not a threat
  5. A confident leader is an essential element in uncertain times
  6. Challenging market

Bet on trust

Leaders struggle with constant challenges and, above all, with a great responsibility not only for themselves and the company but also for the employees they have to direct accordingly. Being a leader requires constant improvement, self-development and not just chasing reality, but getting ahead of it.

Trust is the element without which a team is just a collection of people. It functions like a glue that is especially needed in times of uncertainty, constant crises and change. It allows the members of the organization to get along better and organize their work more efficiently. This is especially necessary for a hybrid or completely remote working environment.

The leader plays a major role here. It is his behavior and attitude that determines whether team members feel that they are playing in one team and can trust each other. How to do it? All it takes is a daily empathetic approach to the team and its problems. Regular communication unifies and gives a sense of community. The leader should also show empathy and care about the organization.

When the team trusts their leader, they accept the decisions he or she makes and believe that he or she is acting for their good and that the organization is in good hands. Even if it seems irrational or unreasonable to them at first. Trust helps to get through crises and makes people more willing to sacrifice for the good of the team.

Transparency of communication is key

When a crisis arises or it’s time for a refinement you have to rise to the occasion and face the team. Any advance will bring conflicting information, opinions or rumors. This cannot be left alone. The role of the leader is to talk frankly and establish clear communication so that there is no room for uncertainty, which creates chaos.

How can a leader help a team deal with uncertainty?

There is no perfect leader

Most of us have the feeling that a leader is a person who knows the answer to every question and knows exactly what steps to take no matter what. This is not true. Admitting it to yourself, but also your team will give a great sense of relief.

Not knowing is part of the learning process and we should accept it. Ignoring it and constantly fighting the stress can lead to frustration and halt development. Such a remodeling of approach will also be far better received by the team than playing the role of an all-knowing guru.

The pursuit of perfectionism is the bane of today. In an environment of frequent transitions, this pattern does not work. It will be far more beneficial to diverge the focus to action, making mistakes and learning from them. To achieve this, we have to get rid of perfectionism, which often causes anxiety and stops us from making snap decisions for fear of failure.

Courage instead of perfectionism

Good leaders of today are courageous, not afraid of risks and making quick decisions. They bravely guide their team through uncertainty, even when they don’t know what awaits them. It takes not only courage to act, but also decisiveness and self-confidence, as well as mental resilience to failure. It also requires switching their mindset from analyzing into trying or doing.

The team is potential – harness it

Most leaders still feel that the pressure is on them to make decisions and lead the team, and that they are responsible for the entire team and what path they will lead it down. Because of this attitude, they often feel isolated and left to their own devices, which can eventually lead to overwhelm.

This is especially true in times of constant twists and turns when the strategy put in place becomes useless after a while and a new path needs to get set. This leads to increased effort, extended working hours as well as a desire to overtake one’s skills. However, this is not always possible. Operating beyond one’s capacity will never come out as effective in the long run. This is a good way to short-term challenges.

Leaders often forget that they have another extremely valuable asset at hand. It is the team. A discussion or joint brainstorming allows you to get a completely different perspective. Each collaborator is different, with a variety of experiences and personalities. By asking for opinions you gain insight from different points of view. Even if you don’t directly benefit from the information you get, you may learn something valuable from it.

Such occasions have an extra benefit to them as they make the team feel extremely valued and give them additional energy for acting. The team recognizes that they are part of something larger that has an impact on the functioning of the company.

Treat change as an opportunity, not a threat

Constant uncertainty forces us to step out of our comfort zone. The tense situation is felt not only by leaders but by the entire team. It intensifies anxiety and powerlessness, demotivating them to continue working. At such moments, the leader’s role is to overcome this atmosphere. Go out and be there for your team. Communicate with them, and don’t avoid difficult conversations. Present them with a different point of view. Let them see the transition as an opportunity for new achievements, rather than treating it as a threat.

Stay flexible

Nowadays, a particularly valued trait concerns the ability to adapt and adjust to an evolving environment. A team that can react quickly enough to do it and develops a new attitude or strategy has a chance of survival.

How can a leader help a team deal with uncertainty?

A confident leader is an essential element in uncertain times

Without the right leadership, even the most capable team will not make it through the constantly emerging crises unscathed. A global pandemic, shifting global situation, war as well related fluctuations are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition, each team faces the problems of its own environment. Together with a sense of uncertainty, the final result is an explosive mix.

Anxiety, a sense of powerlessness and going nowhere begin creeping into everyday life. These factors can destroy creativity and the desire to develop. As a result, a capable team that has the chance to achieve a lot falls apart.

However, the situation does not always have to end up this way. All you need to do is put the right leader at the forefront to guide the team through the uncertainty, be supportive and show the right path. This does not mean that person will be perfect and know exactly what steps to take to achieve success. No one knows that. To lead a team requires self-confidence and belief in righteousness of one’s decisions, even when you don’t know what the future will hold.

People in the team need to know that they are seen. They feel they are part of it and have an impact on the future. When their commitment is appreciated, they can put much more effort. Even if it involves going through a difficult period or adjusting to a temporary tough situation.

Challenging market

Until recently, the market was quite stable. One could quite confidently set a direction, establish a long-term strategy and follow the set course. Despite minor deviations, mostly everything went according to plan. Nowadays, times are so uncertain that it makes virtually no sense to create a long-term strategy. The constant changes that are taking place nowadays force us to adjust course on an ongoing basis and adapt to the changing situation. It is also quite a challenge for a leader to undergo a transformation and adopt a new leadership strategy.

It is necessary to assume that uncertainty is the only certainty in the company. This is certainly a major challenge, as the leader must step out of the role of mentor and the posture of the specialist. It is essential to show a great deal of trust in the team, show your human face and introduce the belief that courage and resolute decision-making can help get through uncertainty.

You already know how to help your team deal with uncertainty. Now check out global leadership trends for 2023.

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How can a leader help a team deal with uncertainty? 6 strategies for leading teams through the unknown nicole mankin avatar 1background

Author: Nicole Mankin

HR manager with an excellent ability to build a positive atmosphere and create a valuable environment for employees. She loves to see the potential of talented people and mobilize them to develop.