6 Tips to Help Leaders Lead Through Uncertainty


Times have changed considerably over the past 5 months since Covid-19 hit Ireland.  Every one of us is learning how to cope and live alongside the virus which makes these times, to say the least, uncertain and somewhat stressful.   I believe one thing that is certain at this stage is that we’ll be living alongside this virus for quite some time to come.  That being the case, it’s important to know how to lead people through these uncertain times.  I’ve compiled a few tips based on conversation and observations of effective Leadership I’ve been privy to in the past few months. Some if not all, may help you lead your people over the coming months.

1.  Lead yourself first.  If you are saying one thing and doing another then your people will find it difficult to trust you let alone believe that you are authentic.  This advice just goes back to the old saying ‘lead by example’.  If you are telling people to be flexible in their work practises, well then you need to do the same. If you need them to put more effort into a task, then you do the same.

2.  Keep in regular contact.  You may believe it’s best to leave people alone if they are getting on with their work however, now more than ever, it’s critical to keep in regular contact with people.   Firstly, all Leaders have a Duty of Care to make sure your people are doing o.k. and are managing o.k.  Secondly, studies show that everyone, regardless of their preference for Introversion or Extraversion need to make several social connections per day in order for their Well Being to increase.

3.  Steer away from transactional conversations and move towards meaningful conversations.  Aim towards having Peak Conversations by really getting to know the person and letting them share their likes, dislikes, their emotions and their feelings.  Be willing to share your emotions, feelings etc in return.  Without this level of conversation, you could be talking to anyone.  Keep in mind, your team members are not just ‘anyone’, they are valued individuals who can make an enormous difference to your team and the organisation.

4.  Be flexible. Focus on outcomes versus hours worked.  Rather than expecting your team members to work a full 8 hours.  Look at what they achieve and their outcomes on a weekly, fortnightly and monthly basis.  Are they meeting their deadlines and objectives? Are they achieving the right level of quality? Then back off about questioning whether they did an 8 hour day or not.  On the flip side of this and going back to point no. 2 above, check-in often with them to ensure they are not putting in 10 + hour days to achieve their targets / goals.

5.  Be human.  People find uncertainty stressful.  They may have financial worries, family care worries, job security worries or they may even be missing the life they lived prior to Covid-19.   Be supportive whatever way you can.  Maybe one day or week, they need a lighter work load so they can manage personal or stressful situations.  You can guarantee, you’ll get their commitment and work back in double once they know you have their backs.

6.  ‘Work’ your sense of humour.  Look for the humour in every situation & don’t take yourself too seriously.  Trust me on this, not only because I lead with Sunshine Yellow (Insights Discovery) but because you and everyone around you will enjoy their work more if they are having some level of fun.  Having a good old belly laugh releases our Happy Hormones; serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins – all of which make us feel good.

All of the above are easy enough to put in place however, you need to be intentional in applying them.  So, make a note of 1 or 2 that you feel are easy for you to implement and start working them into your Leadership Tool Kit.  Not only will your people benefit from the above approaches but you will too.

Until next time.