Don’t Instruct, Inspire
Leaders should not shy away from the realities of the world. It’s an uncertain time and each day will be different to the last. Leaders can show that they are listening to employees’ fears and make them feel safer. They can assure their employees that their jobs are safe and that they will help them with new skillsets to transition as the world around them evolves.
Leaders who can navigate uncertainty can have a significant impact on their team’s success. At this moment, what does effective leadership look like?
Choose to be a leader, rather than just leading
Leadership is not something that one should ‘do’. It’s something that one should ‘be’. It is a journey, not a destination. It is not about becoming someone else, but becoming the best version of yourself.
The best leaders do not issue orders or instructions to their employees in a vacuum; they are trusted advisors who guide others through challenging situations with advice, insight, and relevant expertise.
As a good leader in times of crisis, you will take care of your people. You will always be on their side and have their best interests at heart. The best leaders don’t just focus on themselves or just on their own success; they think about how they can help others succeed as well.
Inspire others and reduce uncertainty through your vision
When leading through uncertainty, a good leader is an inspiration to others. They give followers a sense of freedom and autonomy. This allows them to feel like they can trust their leader and be open with them.
Research has shown that inspirational leadership is the new competitive advantage. It improves productivity, innovation, and performance. Therefore, it is important that you inspire people to buy into your vision by presenting them with a clear picture of what success will look like in the future.
A strong vision and commitment to it will help to reduce the uncertainty that your people may be feeling. The more people on the team that are inspired by and believe in the vision, the better off both you and your company will be. If you can provide your followers with a clear vision of what you hope to accomplish, then they will know exactly what they need to do to succeed.
Build trust with followers and work to create loyalty
To be an effective leader, you must have the trust of your team. If there isn’t a level of trust between you and your staff, then your ability to lead them will be hampered.
Trust is fundamental because it goes both ways. As a leader, if you want people to work for you then they need to trust that you are going to do what’s best for them. On the other side, if people don’t trust you, then they won’t give their best effort because they lack the motivation that comes with feeling like they are in control of their own destiny.
To help build trust with employees, it is important to create a sense of loyalty toward the company:
- Be clear and transparent about your goals for the company and why you made certain decisions. This helps employees to feel more confident in their work and let them know that they are respected as an individual.
- Be open about what the company’s mission is as well as how you plan on achieving that goal.
- Give employees room for creativity while still maintaining a clear vision of where the company wants to go. As we stated earlier, autonomy is key.
- Keep them involved in decision making. Forcing employees into a strict hierarchy will only make them feel like they don’t have any power or control over what happens in their environment – which will decrease productivity and increase turnover rates.
You should keep people updated on what we are doing, how they can help, and how their input matters. This will help build a relationship between the company and followers that will lead to increased loyalty.
6 Actions to become an effective leader through uncertainty
Leadership is not a trait, but a set of skills and behaviors that can be learned. There are six actions that will help you become an effective leader:
- Get clear about your own values and what matters to you
- Be curious about what matters to people around you
- Take risks, accept failure, and learn from it
- Share both the positive and negative parts of your story with your team to build trust and create a collective purpose
- Frame every decision through the lens of people’s needs or interests first, then explain how it aligns with business goals
- Seek out opportunities to inspire others when uncertainty arises so they know the future looks like something worth being a part of
Leading in this uncertain era is not easy, but it is possible
Leading a business through uncertainty is not an easy task. You must be creative, resourceful, and adaptive. However, with the right mindset and knowledge of how to navigate uncertainty, you can make strides for your business in this time of chaos.
The key to dealing with uncertainty is setting a realistic goal or plan, sharing the visions, and building trust in it. This is not a one-off conversation to have, but a continuous effort to be executed. Following the advice in this article will help you develop your leadership and inspire confidence through this uncertain era.
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