If the past few weeks, and this week in particular, has taught us anything it’s that uncertainty is never far away! As the ‘popular’ tweet (435.4k likes and counting) says “My son has lived through four chancellors, three home secretaries, two prime ministers and two monarchs. He’s four months old.”

Credit: @alan_mcguinness on Twitter

This is an uncertain and difficult time for everyone, whether that’s in our professional or personal lives, but there’s one thing that hasn’t changed – and that’s the importance of great (and stable) leadership! In our blog article from July 2019 on Everyday Leadership in an Uncertain and Changing World, Mary Jones talks about what the accepted styles of past leadership have been, she examined how relevant these were at the time, and looked at what was emerging as the new expectations of key skills and competencies in leadership of the future. And do you know what? Reading that blog again was a timely reminder about what’s important in leadership. As Mary summarises “If leaders in the 21st century want to keep their businesses ahead of the competition, then they have to want to embrace change, leading from the front, not the top, knowing their own strengths and weaknesses, and embracing and demonstrating their willingness to invest in the right people.”

She goes on to say in her next blog on Creating a High Performing Team on Simple Principles that “a leader [should be] authentic, honest and open, not afraid to make mistakes or admit weaknesses, who leads from the front and who can work with a good pace” but also that “no-one succeeds alone, and a great leader will need the best possible team behind them.”

Of course there are parallels to be drawn from the current situation. Putting political opinions to one side, I don’t think anyone could say that Prime Minister Liz Truss had a team align behind a common purpose, who believed and valued the same things and one which had those three vital ingredients of “team spirit, team skills and team process”.

We are living in a VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous). This brings with it a whole range of leadership challenges, that require us to be agile and adaptable in our approach.

As we know, Leaders (according to Graham Wilson in “Leadership Laid Bare” 2018):

  • Understand themselves & have a story to tell
  • Inspire action
  • Create high performance teams
  • Unleash innovation
  • Manage ambiguity & kill risk
  • Educate
  • Deliver with pace

Whereas, Managers:

  • Give direction
  • Have subordinates
  • Hold authority
  • Tell you what
  • Have good ideas
  • React to change
  • Exercise power

We’ll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions about which approach is required to successfully steer your business through the choppy waters we’ll be facing over the next few months. If you’d like to explore how development and coaching interventions, including executive coaching can supercharge your business performance, then get in touch.