Movation Leadership - A Member of the Table Group CAPA Pro Network

A Member of the Table Group CAPA Pro Network

Leading during uncertain times

May 13, 2020 | Effective leaders

In this video, Liz addresses the priority of leaders learning how to take care of themselves, by using an adaptable problem-solving and time time-stress-management tool.

Your leadership has never been more important than it is right now in this covid-19 crisis. In fact, how you lead during this crisis will be remembered far more than what you how you have ever led in normal times gone by. You’ve likely been catapulted into the world of virtual team leadership and whether you find yourself busier than ever or not busy enough, there is one thing all leaders have in common right now, and that is the question:

How do you lead in a time of uncertainty?

The truth is, we would rather have the certainty of bad news, than uncertainty. Let me use the following illustration…think back to pre-lockdown days and imagine you’re at the airport waiting to board your plane…you have your eye on the board waiting for your boarding gate number to be appear. Suddenly you notice that your flight status has changed from ‘awaiting board gate number’ to ‘delayed’. No more information is given. You have no idea how long the delay will be and what the cause for it is. What do you do? The uncertainty is hard to manage. You wait around and anxiously keep casting your eye to the board hoping for some information, any information. Just when you think you can’t take anymore, the board changes…your flight has been cancelled. Now, albeit bad news, it brings a measure of certainly. You can now at least take action.

So how are we expected to lead amidst all the uncertainty we find ourselves in?

Well, I would propose to you that there are 3 main areas of priority for any leader right now.

  1. Take care of yourself
  2. Take care of your people
  3. Take care of your stakeholders

In this blog post I want to talk about taking care of yourself.

The most difficult person you’ll ever lead is yourself. But now more than ever, you need to lead yourself well. You simply cannot lead others well if you are not leading yourself well. And this starts with taking care of yourself. One helpful model for taking care of yourself that I share with many of the leaders I coach is the CIA model… It’s an adaptable problem-solving and time-and stress-management tool that identifies three ways to look at and respond to challenges:

Control – which means to identify the elements of a situation that you are able to control. For example, you can’t control when this crisis will end but you can control your actions, words and choices while it lasts.

Influence – which means to identify the elements of a situation, that you can’t control, but can influence. For example, you may not be able to control how your team responds to this crisis but you can influence them by speaking to them, supporting them, advising them.

Accept – which means to identify the elements that you can neither control nor influence. That you simply need to accept and adapt to accordingly. For example, perhaps you are in a situation where you are finding it particularly hard to run at the pace you would usually run at if you were in the office because of priorities at home or the restrictions that working virtually bring…it would be wise to see this for what it is, and accept it by being kind to yourself and realising that this is not something you can control, but a restriction that you need to work within. You are doing the best you can. By accepting that you genuinely can’t control or influence something is not a sign that you’re an ineffective leader. It’s a sign of maturity that will serve to help you reduce your stress levels.

When you understand these three responses in a given situation, you can more easily put problems into perspective and get a more realistic sense of what you can and can’t accomplish. This then helps you to focus your efforts on where they’ll have the most impact.

Espresso Leadership

Would you like to receive our Espresso Leadership videos and other useful resources?


We treat your personal data with care, view our privacy notice here.

Follow us

Recent insights

One tip for staying motivated through uncertainty

Motivating your team during times of uncertainty is one thing, but how do you as a leader stay motivated yourself? In this video Liz summarises one useful tip to help leaders. Espresso Leadership Would you like to receive our Espresso Leadership videos and other...

Dealing with office politics

In this video Liz address the subject of office politics. it's damaging effect on teams and organisations and what can be done by leaders to deal with it.When I work with leaders to build a healthy workplace culture, one of the first things I look for to determine how...

Related Content

Closing the gap between expectations and reality

Closing the gap between expectations and reality

In this video, Liz offers insight into the gap between expectation and reality on teams, suggesting four requirements for expectations to be valid. Understanding the gap between expectation and reality In any team or indeed even in any relationship, the gap between...

How to build trust on your team

How to build trust on your team

In this video, Liz highlights the importance of trust on a team and explains the crucial difference between predictive trust and vulnerability-based trust.Teamwork has never been more important than it is right now. No team is going to come through this period of...