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Leadership Today - when uncertainty is our only certainty

There is no doubt that seismic change occurred last week. While you and your staff grapple to understand its meaning and its implications, valuingYOU provides hints and tips to help you through the chaos that appears to surround us.

Irrespective of how each person voted, it is important to remember that they did so, for all the right reasons. Their decision was based on what is important to them and the information that was available to them at the time.

When faced with change, it is our emotional reactions that are often most evident and these are captured in the diagram below:

Our emotional reaction is charged with energy. Sadly however this energy is often negative and results in a reduction in productivity.

So why does this happen? When facts and clarity are missing, in their absence we create our own version of reality. These are the conversations that we have over lunch, by the watercooler, down the corridor……. Our fiction (fear), becomes our reality and is often so much worse than the reality itself.

No doubt most Executive Boards will be meeting today.

Tip 1:

As you start your meeting, explore where each of you is on the curve and the impact that this is having on your role as a leader.

Then identify where you need to be as individuals and as a Board, to provide the leadership and stability that your business and staff need.

Staff will be returning to work, unsure of the impact that the Referendum will have on their job. As Executives you are unlikely to have the answer. So what can you do to provide stability?

Tip 2:

Reflect on your business mission, vision and brand values, and answer the following:

What is different today?

What is likely to be different in the next 3, 6, 12, 24 months?

What, if any, changes are needed?

What does this mean to our staff, stakeholders and customers? Step into the shoes of each and look at it from their perspectives.

How do we as leaders translate and communicate the facts so that we retain confidence in our business?

How do we as leaders consistently deliver our brand values through these uncharted times ahead?

So what can we learn from the Referendum?

  1. One thing, that is loud and clear, is that self-interest/personal ego has no role in leadership or in the Board Room.

  2. The only “I” in Leadership should be integrity.

  3. That trust is fundamental for any relationship, at any level.

  4. Visibility - leaders lead when words and actions are consistent.

How do you as an Executive Team achieve this?

Tip 3:

Through times of change, how you work together as an Executive Team is even more critical to the success of your business. Tensions are high. Uncertainty is the only certainty. By working through and fully encompassing each of the Five Behaviors, then you can be a highly effective Executive Team. It is no mistake that trust, the foundation, is the largest segment.

The success of this approach is that:

The Executive Team Shares common goals, as well as the rewards and responsibilities for achieving them.

Executives readily set aside their individual and personal needs for the greater good of the business.

This approach means that each Executive puts the Executive Team first. That their own line management teams come secondary to the Executive Team. In this Executive Team, there is no place for ego and self-interest.

This approach focuses on behaviours. It requires courage.

The uncertainty of tomorrow requires consistent and courageous leadership.

Additionally, staff need to be able to understand what the future holds for them. They need to be able to contribute, to be listened to and to be involved in how change happens at work. To do this they need clarity of direction and facts. They need to understand what is expected of them. They need feedback on how they are performing.

Tip 4:

Communicate | Communicate | Communicate: Provide regular strategic updates. Ideally this should be face to face, allowing opportunity for staff to voice concerns and seek clarification without fear about their job security. They require feedback so that they understand why some of their input is used and why some is not.

Involve | Involve | Involve: Executives need to understand what is important to their staff. To do this they need to involve and ideally allow staff to develop solutions for change. They are often closer to your customer. They understand what needs be different to be the very best you can be for your customers. The key to success here is to listen and take action. To invest in them, to help them to be the very best they can be, for the benefit of all.

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