At a workshop we ran last month we spoke about certain planning in uncertain times. Times are very uncertain at the moment, both here in South Africa and globally, and it is not likely to be any different in the foreseeable future.
One of the key roles of a leader is to help employees work through and with this uncertainty. To quote Dr Dorrian Aiken (University of Stellenbosch Business School) – “Leaders need to give certainty – without it they trigger negativity amongst others and an immediate resistance to change” (Business Brief June/July 2014 pg 18).
Leaders are responsible to setting and reinforcing the cultures and values of a company and as such must lead the company effectively through periods of change. Whether it be internal or external change.
It is a consequence of our past that a lot of companies have an autocratic culture and driven by the economics of the company with little consideration for the employees.
Times are changing rapidly due to technology, world economics, climate concerns, inequality and numerous other factors and this is giving rise to a lot of uncertainty in peoples’ lives. The human brain requires, above most else, certainty and this is where good leaders can make a huge difference to employees which will ultimately lead to greater business success.
When there are changes in a company, for what ever reason, employees will become anxious leading to negativity, rumours, poor performance and ultimately poor company performance.
Strong, open leadership will not only be beneficial for all employees but ultimately the success of the business and as such is, in my opinion, a key to effective leadership.
A leader who values, respects and listens to their employees will make them more open to others’ points of view and therefore less resistant to change. In order to do this a leader needs to become more aware of their own feelings , value and beliefs as well as those of others.
This will open the mind to new possibilities and the ability to adapt to change.