Nothing stays the same forever and in recent times a lot has changed. Whether you are navigating a pandemic response, which at the time of writing is the major headline, a technological, or bureaucratic revolution, uncertainty is always on the agenda. Dealing with uncertainty is about respecting the power of uncertainty. The scope of what is possible is enormous, and we can’t say for sure in which of many directions change might operate. No-one can predict which new devices and techniques will appear and then which ones major institutions choose to adopt, and we don’t know how the public will react to these things either. So, we all have to plan for uncertain times. When we know what we’re doing within the uncertainty, and our work is well-defined and valued, the external circumstances can be dealt with properly. How do we deal with uncertain times?
Uncertain means you don’t know. You have to own this fact. Customers and clients want us to project authority and power, so accepting that we are in the dark seems counter-intuitive. The fact is that it’s the only honest option we have, and honesty must come first in business and at home. Honesty is vital for trust and we need trust to operate. It’s okay to say that you don’t know, create a bond with the group in the shared experience of not knowing. Then, take the lead by not letting it dam the river.
You must be present. Hiding away and hoping everyone gets on with it is the action of an underling, a newbie, a person who looks to leaders. What you have to do is be in the room and conscious of its dynamics. Interactions with your people will help you instil confidence and reassurance in what could be a stressful experience. When you approach people, take them at face value and make sure you stay on their level. Offer friendly conversation in between the official stuff. This presence and connection will be vital for the morale of the people you work with.
Don’t get overly serious. We all want to take life seriously at times, especially when important things are in the balance. Getting overly serious can result in deep emotional attachments to desired outcomes which can leave us exhausted and confused. We often don’t get exactly what we planned for because we are never totally in control. The world responds to us in more ways than we can imagine or plan for. If we take everything seriously as if we are completely in charge and energetically intertwined with the process, things can become tense, unhappy, and unproductive.
This means your problems are not to be tackled like St. George and the Dragon. Often what you perceive as problems are just need for improvement, signals of miscommunication, and people doing their best. We all make mistakes, and the more nervous and difficult the day is, the more mistakes are likely to happen. People under difficult circumstances are battling negative thinking while continuing with their work. It takes energy and focus to do this, if you charge in with your lance on horseback then it will be counter-productive. Be kind and careful, use tact, and remember that your suffering and tension is nobodies business but your own.
Opportunity is everywhere. Make use of the desire for clarity and continuity that society will have by being the one to provide it. If there are new products on offer that people feel they need or are told they need, then be the one to source them and distribute accordingly. If something changes in the paperwork, figure it out and explain it to the people who need to know. You’re leading the way, so when something has to change you are the one to direct it. Who knows what big thing is around the corner, be ready to take the horse by the reins when it gallops by. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a ride up the mountain.
Luckiest means leaving opportunities open. You don’t know what people can do for you, you don’t know what your network will provide. By seeing that you follow these guidelines set out, you stand to be fortuitous in the future. A reputation for clear leadership and safe management is a great asset that will attract new avenues like a magnet. Be benevolent, be generative, give as much as you get, loan your talents, and after some time, your network isn’t just a safety net but a trampoline. Then all you need to do is jump at the right time.