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3 Ways To Lead Through Uncertainty


Your team are back in the boardroom. COVID-19 is over and there is a buzz of nervousness and anticipation, as they await your leadership and direction on how you all are going to move forward.

You walk past the boardroom window and look in, feeling nervous as f***, and momentarily picture yourself back in your bed during lock-down. You feel like you want to turn around, run to the toilet and throw up!

But you know that you have to do this. It's time.

You grab the door handle, with a quick thought of "Has this been sanitised? Too late!"

..all of a sudden, a hush descends as you walk into the room.

You can hear a pin drop.

You feel your heart beating in your chest as you connect with the eyes of every team member peering at you, with facial expressions of expectation, fear, excitement, worry...

Then you smile.

A simple smile, but one that lets people know that you are ready.

Ready to live again. Ready to lead and be led. Ready to stand with them to forge a new path. Reality of this moment drives your adrenaline level, as you and they know, you need to speak.

You tell yourself "This must land. I must inspire. I must empower. "

You part your lips, then say...

What would you say?

No matter what you say, it cannot be strictly business.

The personal journey that they have all just gone through, has tested their mental, physical, psychological and spiritual self - they need your leadership to understand where they are going from here and how they will need to handle the barriers along the way.

There are many ways to achieve this. Allow me to share just 3 ways:

Set a clarified vision - you must be able to help every team member see themselves, as part of a successful future, that they will still feel uncertain about.

What will be the business size when you get there? Where will you be based? Can you describe the future customer persona? What will the interior colour of the office be?

As a leader, the more detailed the articulation of the future, the emotionally connected your team will be, think, feel and do to help bring that future to life.

Learn to embrace fear - Fear is real...isn't it? Or is it a simple manifestation of how you think something will affect you? Regardless of your perspective on fear, you cannot deny it's ability to influence an individual's response and action.

But leadership is about enabling yourself and others to view fear as a motivator, a catalyst, the fuel to drive change. Showing that you are not afraid to face the reality, that underpins all your fears, will engender genuine trust and authentic loyalty.

Be honest with your team at all times and spell out what you need from them to achieve impact. But also be prepared for their feedback - being honest with them, will also empower them to be honest with you.

Understand what sacrifice means to them - when you hear the word sacrifice, what comes to mind?

Visually, I immediately think of altars, hooded figures and inaudible chanting! But sacrifice can also be a positive thing - sacrifice can enable you to identify and get rid of negative habits, disciplines and behaviours that hold back your potential.

Regardless, ensure your team members understand what sacrifices have been made, personally and professionally for all, and ensure that they feel comfortable to share what it means to them.

Sharing the impact of those sacrifices will help all, to accept whatever additional sacrifices may still need to come - a frank and open conversation on this now, will save surprises later.

Imagine what your world will look like, once this is all over....I hope you can look forward to a better, more positive vision and work towards it, come what may.

You can make it happen. I'm certain of that.

Till the next time,


About the author

Joel Blake

Joel Blake

Joel is a multi-award-winning businessman and public speaker, with a passion for helping companies accelerate business growth.

He is the Founder and CEO of GFA Exchange. Previously, he was the Executive for Growing Business and Access to Finance for the GBSLEP.

Over the past 15 years, Joel has developed a credible reputation for innovation with business support ecosystems, advising professional bodies, public sector organisations and corporate firms on how to innovate their existing businesses support and leadership strategies.

He was awarded an OBE for Services to Business Support and Enterprise in 2016.

Outside of GFA Exchange, Joel is Vice-President of the Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce, National Ambassador for the Institute of Leadership and Management, Fellow of the National Centre for Entrepreneurs and Board Member of Birmingham Symphony Hall and Town Hall.



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