Uncertainty demands one key thing from us …
As we emerge into a new future, there is an important message for professional development: “Leadership matters a lot”. Right now, it matters whether or not you think of yourself as a leader – established in your career, or unsure about your career future – either way, being a leader is crucial. Taking on a leadership project can boost your confidence and increase your capability to make progress – whatever it looks like.
Uncertainty places a premium on leadership skills
This is not about management. Management will always be important – there will always be process, product and people to manage and problems to solve. But the greatest step forward in professional development lies in leading better. This is true even if leadership is not part of your official role.
Leadership capability enables you to provide the handrails so necessary at this time and to participate more effectively in bringing about a better future. Handrails for those we are responsible for, yes – but also for ourselves too.
Theories abound, but one thing is really needed
There are many different angles on leadership (for example, Emergent, Adaptive, Servant leadership and hundreds of books on various theories), but one thing often stands out by its glaring absence. It’s an answer to the question: What can I do today to become a better leader?
At its core, leadership is simple: it’s taking the initiative to make something better. And the best way to reduce uncertainty and associated anxieties is to be active, to be doing something towards the outcomes you want to see – where you can, at whatever level you are at and in the face of your particular challenges.
What’s needed …
There are four activities that together will develop your leadership capabilities:
1. Seeing a better future – an improvement you feel is important (and, even better, inspiring)
2. Searching for the seeds of it that are already present in your current situation
3. Enthusing others to go after it with you
4. Helping them to be active, to take action on it
That is, leadership is fundamentally about caring, vision, encouragement and action. You can start practising these skills today, whether you are at home or at the office – or both!
Focus and practise
Focus on what you can control or influence rather than on the vast area of concerns about events you can’t change. As you act to improve what you can directly control or influence, anxieties diminish – calmness and confidence increase.
So … what are one or two things that come to mind immediately that you could act on? You have probably already thought of one. Today’s leadership training opportunity is right there for you. Take it.
Training and coaching tailored to your specific needs is also available: Leadership Coaching and Training.
Cheers to better futures for all
Max and Frances