Uncertainty Leadership

May 28, 2013

Uncertainty Leadership

Uncertainty leadership refers to what leaders do in the face of uncertainty. In such situations, two in three leaders fail to first ask, “What is the goal?”

“When faced with an uncertain situation, what order would you ask the following?”

Uncertainty LeadershipThis data comes from on a live audience survey of 135 leaders by CO2 Partners, using TurningPoint Techology’s Audience Response System.

What Is the Goal?

Exceptional leaders know they must begin with the goal, and take stock of the current position, before setting strategy. Managers, on the other hand, tend to get preoccupied with the problem, examining it from all sides, or respond with knee-jerk solutions. They want to achieve results (because that’s how their work is usually measured), not necessarily achieve progress toward the greater goal.  

The transition from leader to manager is a difficult one. Part of it involves shifting focus from short-term results to long-term vision.

Leaders should try to remember GPSing, the acronym I coined when writing Just Ask Leadership. GPSing stands for asking Goal, Position, and Strategy. Ask questions about those topics in that order. It’s a process that works, much like the Global Positioning System in your car or boat.

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