Leading in Uncertain Times

No matter how you voted in the presidential election, emotions are no doubt running high. Ambiguity is the great equalizer–it puts everyone in the same boat. A leader’s job in a sea of unknowns is to reach out to all people in the boat and gather their feedback about how to navigate. In this case the leader has no experience in public service. It is then the responsibility of the public to help steer the ship. I suppose it is not unlike when George Washington reluctantly stepped into the role. Imagine his trepidation and how he must have relied on the support of others to make decisions that would set the course of this country.

Now think about your own leadership and how it shifts during uncertainty or conflict. Listening to others who do not share our views is the simplest, hardest thing to do. A good leader will not label the feedback he or she receives as wrong or stupid. It comes from a place of truth for each person and deserves to be honored. The discussion must shift from opinions to desired outcomes. A good leader will work backwards from end result to action. Decision making in these times should not be rushed but carefully considered. Resist the urge to suppress dissent for there is much to be learned from opposing viewpoints. It is a privilege to lead others. They put their confidence in you, and trust that you will serve them well. Be like George. Gather people around you who are smart, talented, and dedicated to achieving end goals, and then listen, and even follow. You may be delighted and surprised at what you and your team can accomplish together.

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