How Ready Are You to Lead in a Volatile World? Test Your Mettle Here
It’s no longer a VUCA world – volatility seems to be on steroids these days and we’ve entered what’s known as BANI (Brittle, Anxious, Non-Linear, and Incomprehensible) times. This means unpredictable crises are the norm and the world is increasingly complex… it’s unfortunately a time of fragility and fear.
But this doesn’t mean you should fret or give up! This era of interconnected and unprecedented chaos brings an opportunity to look at things differently than we ever have before. Businesses and leaders have a chance now to adapt and acquire new skills and perspectives that can actually put you out in front of whatever is to come next.
Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos.Mary Shelley
Humans like clarity and simplicity, easy answers, and easy solutions. That’s why the extremes are popular in politics right now, people are seeking quick resolutions and simple slogans to address very complex problems that are overwhelmingly difficult to resolve.
The fact that we’re dealing with all of this concurrently means we need to really evolve how we relate to others, how we interact with technology, and even how we live day-to-day. Business leaders especially need to be resilient, adaptable, and proactive, as traditional business models and approaches may no longer be effective. When change is the only constant – and the stress and disruption that brings as well – we all need to turn up the empathy and build trust, foster a positive team culture, and work on our communication skills.
So let’s do a quick test to see where you are at in terms of resilience, adaptability and empathy. This quiz can give you some insight on how prepared you are for this BANI world as a leader, and I will also offer some tips (and answers if you need them) at the end.
Test your mettle: are you ready to lead in a volatile world?
- What are some characteristics of a resilient leader?
- Adaptability, emotional intelligence, mental toughness, positive attitude, clear vision.
- Not showing how afraid or concerned you are, putting on a stoic face.
- Being able to answer every question from your team perfectly.
- Making sure all decisions are made entirely by you and then communicated to your team.
- How can a leader develop their resilience?
- Manage everything without telling others, keeping quiet about your struggles makes you stronger.
- Take care of others first – making sure they’re okay comes before taking care of yourself.
- Develop a support network, practice self-care, embrace continuous learning, and cultivate a growth mindset.
- Sticking to what you know, it’s gotten you this far.
- Why is resilience important for leaders in today’s business world?
- It’s really not important – things change and we need to get used to it.
- It’s somewhat important but making sure to generate more revenue comes first, so it’s better to focus on that.
- In a rapidly changing environment, leaders who quickly adapt to new challenges and opportunities, maintain their composure, and can make tough decisions under pressure have the most successful and cohesive teams.
- Being tough is at the core of resilience, and leaders need to show that they are strong and brave.
- Are you able to imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes and if so, how often do you practice this?
- I am, I naturally do this without having to think about it.
- I sometimes do but I have a lot of other things to worry about.
- I really can’t, I try, but it’s hard because I don’t have a good imagination.
- I don’t because I don’t really see the point in doing that, I’m here to manage, not be a hero.
- How often do you take on stretch assignments and spend time learning new tools, perspectives and ways of doing things?
- I try to stay on top of all of this but my job is really overwhelming and I don’t have time.
- I would love to do stretch assignments but I don’t know who to ask or how to get started.
- I am only in my job to get paid and finish my tasks, I really don’t care about anything else.
- I really do this as much as possible – life is a journey of learning and staying aware and flexible helps me in the longrun!
- a. Adaptability, emotional intelligence, mental toughness, positive attitude, clear vision.
Leaders are transparent and open with their team, and leading by example, leaders can help their team build resilience and adaptability in the face of change.
- c. Develop a support network, practice self-care, embrace continuous learning, and cultivate a growth mindset.
Resilience doesn’t mean you’re able to bravely face everything with no reaction, it reflects how you recover from the chaos and crises and how you plan your next steps.
- c. In a rapidly changing environment, leaders who quickly adapt to new challenges and opportunities, maintain their composure, and can make tough decisions under pressure have the most successful and cohesive teams.
According to McKinsey & Company, the best leaders and companies are ambidextrous: prudent about managing the downside while aggressively pursuing the upside.
- a, b, or c.
If you’re naturally empathetic that is great news for your team, however it’s important to not become engulfed in others’ issues and maintain some autonomy. If you’re somewhat able to imagine yourself in others’ shoes that’s a good start and means you just need some practice, or to pause and ask: How would I feel if this situation were happening to me?
- d. I really do this as much as possible – life is a journey of learning and staying aware and flexible helps me in the long run!
Leaders should encourage their team to experiment and try new approaches, as this can help to foster innovation and build resilience in the face of ambiguity and uncertainty. So this means get out there and experiment yourself!
If a leader is feeling anxious, scared, and uncomfortable with ambiguity, it can be challenging for them to help their team navigate. So it’s important to develop as a leader what has been identified as RAAT: Resilience, Attention, Adaptation, and Transparency.
I’ve talked about ways to build resilience, as well as ways to lead rather than just manage in this video. Furthermore, I’ve talked about how to practice self-care (without the guilt!) as it is super important for leaders (especially women leaders who often put others in front of themselves) to remind themselves to do this.
As a coach I help my clients find their way through complex issues and situations. When things are so ambiguous leaders struggle through it, but it doesn’t have to be this way. If you’re ready to be open-minded, curious, and embrace that you may have to change your opinion — that what you know is no longer valid — then you’re equipped. But that’s not easy.
I specialize in helping individuals and teams manage ambiguities and complexities, and I provide them with tools and structures to thrive and embrace these macro changes. So if you need some help building up these key facets required in this new world, reach out to me.
Want to know more about the world of leadership, coaching and career development?
Need help finding your own voice and developing your leadership qualities?
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