Leadership in difficult times

Leadership in difficult times


The world has been severely affected by the global pandemic and the process of transition to the new economic reality has highlighted the need for leaders to be able to adapt and manage organisational change.

Research on organisational turbulence suggests that periods of uncertainty for individuals are associated with “feelings of crisis, anxiety and stress”. Cameron, McAllister, Mitchell and others have shown that when organisations experience turbulence, "centralisation, conservatism, conflict, rigidity, secrecy, and scapegoating by leaders increase, and information sharing, participation, long-term planning, morale, innovation, and credibility of leaders decrease". The increase in volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity means that leaders must seek new options and adopt a new management approach.

The myth of the complete leader causes many leaders to try to be one, burning out and damaging their organisation in the process. "It's time to get rid of the myth of the complete leader," says Peter Senge. Successful leaders "accept that they can only do some things well, so they choose to do the most important things," Frances Frei points out in her latest book Unleashed.

Rather than just looking for the right answer, leaders need to move from a 'know-it-all' mindset to a 'learn-it-all' mindset, says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.