Our VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) environment got a little more VUCA recently with the Coronavirus pandemic. Those of us not on the front lines in hospitals, grocery stores, and other essentials businesses are most likely working from home and doing our part to flatten the curve.
Strong leadership is more important now than ever. Using the changing and uncertain landscape to think about how we will lead in the future (which will certainly have its own change scenarios) is good practice. So, what do you need to know for managing and leading change?
Have a growth mindset.
Dr. Carol Dweck is well-known for her research and writing on developing a growth mindset; a mindset that is bent toward willingness to learn and embrace changes and challenges. A growth mindset is essential when leading through change, and it is also essential that those you lead are encouraged to have their own growth mindset during this time. Encourage those around you to embrace the craziness of change and when faced with failure, understand it’s a learning opportunity.
Being clear is being kind.
Brené Brown writes that “Clear is kind.” It’s true, you’re not doing anyone favors by being unclear or indecisive. During change, leaders should share a sense of where things are going and why they are going that way to help ease anxiety and get everyone on the same page.
Everyone resists change. It’s a natural response to refuse to accept or comply with something new. Many times, people just need more time to understand the change or know they have support as they work through it. Leaders shouldn’t look at resistance as something to mitigate, but rather work through it as a team, inviting discussion and difference of opinion. If those you lead know their opinions matter and can get their concerns out in the open, they may end up being an advocate of the change.
Being able to lead through change and uncertainty is not easy, especially as the world gets more and more VUCA. But adapting these leadership approaches can help teams move through it together sustainably.