The image I see for most people today, especially a leader within an organization, is driving in a snow squall. If you have experienced this, it can be terrifying; and when you are driving a car full of people through one, it becomes heart stopping. You are at the wheel of a car, trying to keep it on a road that you can not see while not being debilitated by the shear panic that is growing in you. You are tired from straining to focus and to remain calm; your family is worried. You have lost sight of other cars and exits and the feel and sound of the road. In other words, you are without all the usual indicators you would lean onto make decisions.
Driving in a snow squall can be like managing work and life in COVID. Economic recovery is going slow and it is not clear what the future holds for many still. As employees and leaders, we cannot rely on the points of data and means by which we would speculate and strategize. People are looking to us for guidance and information, while scanning us to see signs of fear, disaster, or worse. We are working in an environment of low certainty, information, and support; this is not optimal and stress and exhaustion is rising.
So what can we do? Because our environment has changed drastically, some of what made us successful before may not enable us to be effective now. Consider how you used to make decisions. Should you adjust your style and approach to begin making decisions and leading in ambiguous contexts? For leaders who excel in these types of situations, what do they do? They focus on the big picture and the longer term. They ask questions of others and gather perspective. They embrace new ideas and thinking and recognize that barriers are merely problems to be solved, not unsurmountable.
What else? How can we go from being employees and leaders immovable by uncertainty to become ready and able to drive through snow squalls? I am eager to hear your thoughts.