How we lead ourselves forward

Leadership – The activity of leading a group of people or an organisation or the ability to do this. Leadership involves: establishing a clear vision, sharing that vision with others so that they will follow willingly, providing the information, knowledge and methods to realise that vision, and coordinating and balancing the conflicting interests of all members and stakeholders. 

We are undoubtedly in difficult times. It is in many ways a set of circumstances that, connected, could be the most difficult of a generation as our removal from Europe plays out at the highest level. The Brexit word is sadly still not any closer to a positive resolution and this will be worrying for many as we are unsure of what is next. 

Therefore, we will have concerns about how we lead ourselves forward into territory that may yet not be determined. Our teams may be worried or hesitant in the future that exists for them so are we leading with confidence? 

After the collapse of the USSR in the 1990s the US Army War College deduced that a single one enemy no longer existed and that in military terms they would have to change their focus on the future of defence. The acronym VUCA was developed to allow new thinking to this issue. VUCA stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. 

So we have Volatility and Uncertainty currently as we could fully expect known factors to create unknown outcomes. Brexit for instance. We are fairly sure it will happen though we have little idea what that will mean to us. Will there be changes and if so what will they be? Will employees be safe in their roles? Will our businesses be safe outside the European Union? The markets we sell into may be volatile before, during and after any departure and will that departure put all prices up?

These are pretty much unknowns so how do we plan ahead in this environment?

This also identifies Complexity which in itself, as we progress onwards, requires us to compromise as the new landscape is developed post-Brexit. What will this mean to us and will things be different? How will we manage the change and settle to a new existence in a redefined state? Can we simplify the complex proposition that Brexit is and also understand this future given the information above? We are in a seemingly constant state of unknown. 

Ambiguity is itself the aspect of more than one option or position. To be ambiguous is almost the perfect Brexit setting and also lacks any ability to determine an outcome which is what is so desperately needed. We must all still make decisions even though we may be unsure of the definitive situation in the coming months. As leaders you must show conviction in uncertain times and your team must trust in you enough to follow and work forwards. 

So as the US Military managed some time back, are we able to progress ourselves as leaders and also lead our teams through this period of time? 

Can we show vision and purpose on what the organisation is doing? Does the team align to this purpose and understand it and their part within this journey. 

Do we communicate effectively and is that communication open and authentic so if people are worried they can bring these views for discussion without worry. 

Are the team able to develop themselves within their role and the organisation and is everyone aware of what these opportunities are and how to progress them?

Is Brexit a negative position across the team or an unknown opportunity yet to be realised? 

Will it reduce us or increase us as a team of individuals joined by a common purpose?

As leaders do you understand the motivators and personality types that exist in the team? Is the culture a positive one that also aligns to the aspirations of the entire team?

There is undoubtedly a lot to consider in these current times and it is imperative that as leaders you constantly assess the situation and allow the organisation and the team within it to develop forwards as to do otherwise will almost certainly cause greater problems. 

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