Got uncertainty? Good!

3-D cartoon of a red question mark on its side with three 3-D white people sitting and standing around it with their hands gesturing as if asking questions.There is nothing certain about change.

So if you, as a leader of change in your organization, are feeling uncertain? Good. That’s real, realistic, and normal. Trying to pretend otherwise isn’t going to help you succeed – in fact, it’s likely to lead to problems.

Your people probably feel even more uncertain. And while there are plenty of proclamations out there about how leaders are “supposed” to project confidence and certainty, that – perhaps counter-intuitively – doesn’t help your people feel better. Instead, they start wondering if you’re blind to the lurking challenges they perceive. How many of us have been in situations where, to take a very simple example, we know the timeline is unrealistic, but the leader doesn’t want to hear it and continues to push forward? Not helpful!

Instead, the confidence to display is confidence that you’ll get through the uncertainty of change. That you know there will be bumps in the road, curve balls tossed your way, unexpected twists, and you have confidence that you and your team will know how to adapt, adjust your plans, modify your approach, and continue onward. That you want to hear your team’s concerns, because you know your team cares about success – and because you want to solve problems before they happen, instead of after they’ve landed.

Change is inherently uncertain. Trying to pretend otherwise is exactly that – a pretense – and is likely to undermine your people’s trust. Acknowledging the uncertainty and welcoming reasonable discussion builds trust and results in a better outcome.

It’s that simple. Though, as with many simple things, it can be challenging for leaders who are uncomfortable with letting their people know that they¬†don’t know everything!


Want to talk about how to talk about uncertainty with your team – or with your leadership? Contact me and we’ll set a time!