9 top tips to lead through uncertainty

Leaders By Nature

Disruptive change creates uncertainty and we resist it because it is uncomfortable.

Uncertainty increases anxiety, polarisation and disconnection. Emotions run high.

It also creates an opportunity to improve on the status quo, as long as the team are supported and engaged.

The following skills are critical for leading a team through uncertainty but are the skills most often overlooked in the stress of disruptive change.

  1. Manage emotions honestly - Anger, fear, anxiety and grief are natural responses to the enormity of the current situation. Don’t make emotion wrong but provide support to your team through increased listening and empathy.
  2. Create a framework - Focus on what is known. Provide clarity and direction and be honest about what you don’t know.
  3. Collaborate and experiment -There are no right answers in uncertainty so give the team chance to work things out and encourage differences of opinion to be expressed.
  4. Listening and dialogue - Seek to understand polarised opinions or resistance. Allow opinions to be expressed even when you disagree and be willing to change your mind.
  5. Connection and support - Connect with those who are resistant. They are just struggling and need your support. Lean into your own support network and share openly.
  6. Build trust – Trust that everyone is doing their best and make space for differences of opinion.
  7. Stay with discomfort of uncertainty - Uncertainty is uncomfortable. Stick with it and trust that everything is workable. Encourage people to contribute to decisions so they feel valued and can stay engaged,
  8. Be human - You are not superhuman so recognise your own emotions, make time to re-charge and don’t expect to have all the answers.
  9. Lead from your heart and soul - Lead wholeheartedly with enthusiasm. Be willing to fail, recover and try again and encourage others to do the same.

Above all, be kind, always. Everyone is having a different experience. Whilst there is enormous focus on business operationally at a time of change, the emotions of leaders and teams need to be supported appropriately.

Contact Jude Jennison for online masterclasses to help your team lead through uncertainty.


Tel: 0800 170 1810 or Mob: 07584 248822