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Leading Through Uncertainty with Positive Leadership

Business person balancing on chaotic tight rope

Leading in uncertainty is a difficult challenge that many leaders have found themselves in overwhelmingly in the last few years. But in reality, uncertainty doesn’t always come from global economic events or shifting workplace norms.

Change is the only constant in business, as they say, and leaders cannot afford to wait until the next major disruption to learn how to get comfortable with it and lead effectively. So, how can leaders truly lead their teams and their organizations through uncertain times in ways that transcend the conventional realms of leadership?

Leading change is to intentionally put yourself and others in uncertainty. To embrace an uncertain environment, where traditional leadership approaches can often fall short, is to embrace vulnerability and discomfort. And in order to step outside our comfort zones and be vulnerable, we also need to be able to trust those we are working with. As a leader, your ability to acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers is not a weakness, but a strength that can help build collective trust, and this idea also extends to those under your guidance. We need people to be able to fail and get things wrong so that we can learn as a collective how to achieve what we don’t yet know how to achieve.

Another aspect of leading change is leveraging the transformative power of authentic human connections, where vulnerability becomes the bridge that enables us to find common ground with others. In a time when people push so hard on a set of beliefs without acknowledging and understanding differing points of view, we find polarization everywhere we turn. As a leader, your ability to share that which is unique and feels vulnerable can help you find the commonality with the others you are working with. It is through authentic human connection that leads to effective collaboration, learning, and communication, which gives us the confidence to find our way through uncertainty toward successful outcomes.

There is much to learn from those who successfully lead in uncertainty toward success on the other side. The research behind the concept of positive leadership focuses on studying leaders when they are at their best and when their actions have the greatest impact. One of the faculty who teaches in the Positive Leadership: Deep Change & Organizational Transformation executive education program writes:

"That which you or I think is most unique about ourselves we hide. In ordinary discourse, in the normal state, we share our common self, our superficial self. Yet what is most unique about us is what has the greatest potential for bonding us. When we share our uniqueness, we discover the commonality in greatness that defines everyone on the planet." ~ Robert E. Quinn

In an era marked by constant change, it is abundantly clear that while leaders can’t control the degrees and durations of uncertainty that we experience, we can control how we respond to it. During the Positive Leadership program, we help you and other leaders explore ways to understand and share your uniqueness so that you can connect with others to successfully lead through uncertainty.

Women in the positive leader program smiling and laughing


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