There’s no Google Maps for leading in volatile times. Instead of trying to predict the unpredictable, hang onto the guide ROPE of leading in volatility. Focus the team on being: Realistic, Optimistic, Productive, and Efficient. Read on for a summary and download the full article from the October, JFP.
Research shows clear-eyed realism is essential to success in volatile times. it avoids the common pitfall of over-promising. During the financial crisis of 2008–2010, I witnessed well-intentioned leaders rally their troops with positive promises. Unfortunately, this attempt at motivating staff completely backfired. The rosy promises were so far from reality that the workforce fell into deeper despondency. The studies are clear. All achievers are resolute realists.
At the same time, achievers maintain a confident optimism. This is a tough balance. Optimists tend to overpromise while realists may underplay the power of hope. The experts call this balanced mindset “realistic optimism.” This is a universal trait of all those who succeed during volatile change.
A number of recent studies have revealed the impact of stress on today’s workforce. Employees are energized when objectives are clear, significant, and meaningful, in other words, productive. That sounds obvious, but organizations large and small are riddled with conflicting priorities, incompetence, conflict, and more. During volatile times these de-motivators are even more draining. This is when leaders make a difference. They have the authority to craft a meaningful and productive environment.
The same studies that revealed what energizes people, also uncovered the biggest de-motivators. The chief morale killers are bureaucracy, busy work, and wasted effort. This makes perfect sense. During disruption, when there is more work and it’s more difficult, tolerance for meaningless activities drops dramatically. In confidential coaching conversations, clients share their frustrations freely. Since 2020, people have little patience for wasted time and fruitless efforts. Again, leaders can make a big difference. Eliminate any meaningless time-wasting drags on the team.
Stay Nimble & Get Fit
In addition to focusing on realistic optimism, productivity, and efficiency, keep the team moving forward with practices that build agility and endurance. In short, dump the expectation you can plan long term. Instead, navigate with a compass approach. Set the general direction, then nimbly adapt as events emerge. Develop the team by building overall team strength. A healthy team will have the resilience and endurance to withstand volatile times.
For more details, read the full article.
Lastly, the research is clear. Every achiever engages support. Give yourself the gift of your own support, as you lead the team forward.