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Some aspects of Leading in the VUCA world

We are living in the most important times in history where leadership matters across spectrum be it , political leaders, social workers, philanthropists, business leaders, military leaders ,artists or educationists .They have abundant role to play by extending universal leadership which is all pervading ,powerful and beyond the repetitive and unjustified needs and wants of society today. Leaders encapsulated and lost in the imbalanced growth story and uneven competition bubble will not only be able to save their own people but also cause harm to the progress of society at large. Leadership today needs to imprint economic theories beyond needs , wants , metrics and aim at sustainable and balanced growth of the society.

Here we see multitude changes in work cultures. the future of work is ever transforming ,the work from home, office and hybrid models are reflecting the societal mindset to realign happiness and the need for reliable and sustainable growth is evident. When I reflect on the great resignations, fast churning leaderships ,Employee burnouts, skill realignments, Job hopping, , voluntary attritions at very high levels and changing business models, it brings out the very nature of leadership required in this VUCA world. I bring here some practical aspects of leadership which could need attention in the corporate world.

  1. Leading from front: This means being the first ones to face the impact of the volatility and ambiguity .This enables leaders to take first hand assessment of the situation and formulate plans for discussion with the teams. It gives the leaders a tremendous sense of confidence taking the first blow. Leaders need to be not only in the forefront, but also be seen by the employees doing so. This brings a sense of belief and confidence in leadership

  2. Set Right Examples : One cannot bring work life balance to a system where the leader struggles to do so or there is no system in place to ensure the same. The leaders need to do what is said and imbibed as company culture. Culture needs to get beyond the coffee table books and be the subconscious nature of every employee. The core values need to make sense to the last employee in the system. This gives an immense sense of respect to the organization as a system and also enables retention and employee engagement.

  3. The Power of Delegation: Delegatory and participatory leadership brings onus on the employees and also makes them prepared to handle VUCA environments. The employees who are participating in decision making matrix not only feel what it takes to be in the driving seat but also increases respect substantially for the superiors. Being part of the fighting side evokes a sense of pride .I was part of the winning team, and I got the opportunity to face the critical moments are precious reward statements of experience the employee would love to boast about.

  4. Feel the pulse: I have got this tremendous value for management by walkthrough which I have seen it being effectively implemented , in my previous organizations I have served. All management and processes, systems could fail if we do not have the foolproof systems to monitor it. Employees need to be seen, talked to ,appreciated, listened and made part of decision making in a VUCA environment. This brings quick resolutions to emerging scenarios which are otherwise repeatedly brainstormed beyond requirement in the board rooms. These resolutions if not delegated to responsible lower rung leaders , may not yield results. Decentralizing controls judiciously in a VUCA environment is hence the key to averting many a crisis.

  5. Contingency plans: Its impossible to make contingency plans for all situations, however we could set common processes to enable business continuity in uncertain times. Earmarking responsibilities and ownership should be looked at as a problem solving asset, and a opportunity to showcase tolerance in ambiguity and Esprit de Corps rather than a fixated process where someone is to get blamed .How we react to a plan is as important as the intensity of the situation. The organizational attitude that stems from its culture paves a great way to work and execute contingency plans in uncertain times.

There could be several other leadership tenets beyond the above five aspects that merit attention. Kindly share your views on other aspects too that could need attention in prevalent times.

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