Just saw an Instagram Live from a friend. It was about Authentic Living, which is something I always talk about. Especially when it comes to leadership topics, it is becoming more and more important to be authentic and to appear confident and sovereign in an environment of uncertainty.
For years I have been dealing with systems very naturally, so I won't go into details today, I have already written about a lot of things here. But I am just in the flow and wanted to get rid of this here today. Many models are available for how systems should work. Everyone has a philosophy, sometimes understood and described explicitly, often less so. Moreover, a prescribed methodology defines a path towards an answer and leads to seemingly unavoidable achievement. We have had more diverse experiences.
The fact is that leadership can be very difficult for the people involved through large, complex, and politically challenging issues. It challenges our understanding of what is best and how to achieve it best. And it challenges how to link up with all those who have to participate.
As systems managers, they can't just rely on sophisticated and orderly problem-solving approaches like Jungle Framework, Gantt charts, root-cause analysis, and logical frameworks to address complex global challenges. They need a whole range of functions, some of which cannot simply be learned in the seminar room. You have to develop a feel for these systems.
How can we deal with uncertainty as a leader?
System leaders should always be able to deal with and manage uncertainty. It is a fact that the environment is uncertain. You would have nothing to do if the future direction was clear and agreed upon. I mean your own insecurities; how you deal with yourself. Two of the uncertainties that I sense here within us. I feel them the more I talk to founders and executives.
First, "How do I know if my contribution is meaningful?" The uncertainty experienced by a changing system can challenge both the system leader's existing sense of coherence and his or her ability to sustain it.
When a system changes, participants begin to doubt their relationships and wonder who they are and where they belong. Some familiar things seem to break down, and this leads to a fear of collapse. We begin to gravitate toward those to whom we feel a sense of belonging and push further and further away from others.
This causes worry and grief for many people who cling to the past and fight to keep it that way, not resigning themselves to the need for change. What is our escape valve when we find ourselves in these moments? Being able to deal with uncertainty starts with knowing who we are.
Second, "How can I tell if I'm succeeding?" Many system leaders feel that real progress is made when the systems themselves begin to grow. New connections and new patterns become established and intriguing. More effective ways of doing things evolve. But for everyone, at least in the short term, things don't necessarily get better.
That is why the role of system leadership means thinking about and enhancing what is happening in the less desirable parts of any system. Neither of us can just destroy the hard parts. Emergence and collapse go hand in hand. The Systems Leader's role is to support both and help various actors to develop what they can solve and solve together. Then we can devise ways to work with people so that they can develop the means to solve the challenges.
I can't tell you how to be you. I hope that by sharing my experiences, I can show you how to be a little better. And how, by developing your ability to draw from all that you have within you, you can also make your world a little better.