Leadership Through Uncertainty

Does anyone else feel as if now is the calm before the storm (in New Zealand) or that we’re in the eye of the storm, but that some people might not seem to see it yet? Remember, the eye of the storm is the only peaceful part of a hurricane. And yes, it’s hurricane season.

To me, all signs are pointing this way, the period which we have just gone through has been critical to ensure that our health structure and people are given the best opportunity to get through this next phase. But, undoubtedly, things are going to get a lot worse, at least when it comes to our economy and the likely event of more Covid-19 healthcare challenges. 

So, what should leaders focus on to get through these tough times? We recently did a video talking to these key points, and thought I’d summarise our thoughts below.

  1. Embrace Change. Firstly, you need to acknowledge and embrace the inevitable change. Those people who are pretending “all is well” belong to what I would call “the sales” category. I hear both residential and commercial realtors screaming “all is well” but putting a band-aid on a problem or pretending as if it does not exist, simply does not make the problem go away.  These people also seem to be ignoring our former, highly respected PM John Key stating commercial property is “heading toward a train wreck” and residential property will dip between 7-15%. The old adage of “preparing for the worst yet hoping for the best” remains true. 

Embracing change means that you are realistic to the circumstances and take off those rose-tinted glasses. Do a SWOT analysis of your business be deeply critical of the current environment and understand what the likely best case and worst-case outcomes are. 

  1. Focus on Leadership. The saying rings true, “when the times get tough, the tough get going”. Leading through adversity is one of the most critical times to “stand-up” and be counted on. The irony of leading through adversity is that there must be an equal balance between being laser focused but at the same time flexible. While critical times require quick and sound decision making, you need to be equally pragmatic that things change fast, and you must be willing to change too. Make sure that you keep your communication with your team REAL, REGULAR and RELATABLE. 
  1. Self-care –There is a reason why they say to always “put your mask on first before helping others”. Simply if you are not helping yourself, you will struggle to help your team and business.  These times have been difficult for so many people both emotionally, financially, and even physically. Make sure you do the basics: eat, sleep & Exercise. By leading by example your team will see that it is OK to focus on themselves too and that you are not just leading the way but walking it too.

Lastly, we are all tired of hearing the phrase “unprecedented” but it remains true that in recent years the world has not experienced a situation like this and it’s unlikely it will go away overnight. So make sure that you take a long-term view and that you focus not just on ‘what’s right, right now’ but also what’s right in the future.