Inspiring Leadership For Uncertain Times

7 Key Strategies For Leading In Uncertain Times.

It is difficult to lead in these uncertain times when working at a distance and talking to silent audiences in one virtual meeting after another. We have more fear, stress, and anxiety regarding the health of ourselves and our families, the precariousness of our businesses or employment, and the future. We are dealing with so many emotions and realities– there is a lot on!!


All this calls for inspirational leadership – leaders who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions and see results.  Here are 7 key strategies for these uncertain times.



1.      Demonstrate Grace and Positivity under Pressure


Leaders need to be gracious, composed, and optimistic under pressure. This is only possible when resilience is built through sufficient rest, exercise, good nutrition, staying organized, asking for help when necessary, and devoting time to professional development. Also, it is easy to show up and criticize as a spectator.  Inspirational leaders model positivity – and a reaction-oriented on what they can control. If they roll up their sleeves and offer to do things within the scope of possibility, it will encourage others to do likewise because positivity is infectious.



2.     Listen Wholeheartedly


With 2 or 3 screens going during meetings, talking while typing, or trying to hear over background noise, it is almost impossible to give colleagues your full attention.  It is important to recognize what type of listener you are:

·        Cosmetic Listener: Doesn’t listen at all

·        Conversational Listener: Listens only to find a gap to speak and doesn’t take in what the other person is saying

·        Content Listener: Listens enough to start understanding what is being said

·        Exquisite Listener: Understands the content and reads between the lines

Being an exquisite listener is not automatic, but it something you can learn.  It is not about using an on/off switch, but more like using a dial where improvement is experienced overtime.  A great way to start is by setting short periods of time (e.g.: 5 min.) to only listen and write down what you hear.  Moving on to reflective activities where you paraphrase what has been said with, “So what I’ve heard you say is x, y, z,” is extremely effective in wholehearted listening.



3.     Speak Up


In virtual meetings, aim to be noticed because decisions are made by people who show up and speak up. Instead of keeping your camera off because you think you don’t look your best, and near the end of the meeting contributing an uninspiring comment in the chat, just to say you were there, you need to have visibility.  Get ready for the day, turn on your camera, and talk about your points of view and achievements, speaking clearly, calmly, and optimistically.



4.     Deliver Feedback in a Caring Way


In uncertain times, leaders worry about what their staff/business associates are carrying, so they are reluctant to give much feedback.  Even at the best of times, 44% of managers find delivering constructive feedback stressful or difficult, and 21% avoid it altogether (Harvard Business Review).  First, ban the word ‘feedback’ from your vocabulary, because as soon as you use it, people stop listening.  Then, come alongside the person in a sincere, caring way, and share your insight with them without a lot of emotion or embarrassment. E.g.:  

“That’s a great start. Let’s set some time aside to talk about new strategies that will take your idea to the next level.”

5.     Cultivate Curiosity


Leaders need to be curious. You’ll notice that they will ask outstanding questions. As well, inspirational leaders don’t think that they have all the answers – because not only is this delusional, it will deflate those around them and block effective communication. Make a list of critical questions for common situations – questions that are never too personal, but are short, crisp, and concise that will cut to the heart of things and inspire others.



6.     Develop Ambitious Imaginations


We need to use our right brains to succeed.  Leaders target people who have really good ideas and encourage them to share these, even if some of the ideas may not work. Developing ambitious imaginations of staff, clients, colleagues, entrepreneurs, etc. leads to creativity and the art of the possible when so much is overwhelming.



7.     Connect with People


We all work with people.  Inspirational leaders take time to connect personally with staff, colleagues, other business owners, etc. Something simple as occasionally calling instead of using email, texting or social media will do so much for building relationships, communicating effectively, and gaining collaboration.  When leaders know what people are able to do, what they care about, and how they can contribute value, it will assist them with setting top priorities and motivating everyone to work together on bold missions

Catherine Bell

About the Author

Catherine is the founder of Prime Impressions

First Impressions – Impact Perceptions

Catherine is one of only 9 Certified Image Professionals in Canada.

She has assisted thousands of clients worldwide with appearance, presentation skills, networking, etiquette, communication, body language, leadership, and career strategies.

She can assist you with all the ABCs of image – appearance, behaviour and communication.

Clients consistently report new confidence and greater self-esteem.

An international best-selling author, her books are used globally by professionals as part of their ongoing development.

Unlike most CIPs, because of her additional careers as a Fashion Designer and Professor, she has expertise in colour, textiles, tailoring, construction, fit, and proportion, empowering her clients to make educated, enhancing clothing investments. 

She is passionate about giving you the tools to look, act and feel your best.

Prime Impressions WEBSITE

Read More About Catherine Here

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