One major challenge for leaders today is creating regions of hope amid the prevailing uncertainty and ambiguity. Leaders today are driving teams in foggy business environments. The concentration of fog keeps increasing and the challenge for leaders increases as well. What can leaders do to cope with this fog so that their teams remain solid and do not lose faith? This post attempts to answer this question.
The Fog metaphor
Leaders are like drivers in dense fog. They hardly can see what is going around. Like careful drivers, they drive their teams by keeping the distance for fear they may need to apply suddenly the breaks. They keep to the right and use road lines as guiding lines. They refrain from using high lights and only fog lights.
The resilient leaders are the ones that keep probing and adapting to find their way forward in a foggy business environment.
These leaders know when to find a safe zone on the side of the road to park if driving becomes too risky and may result in severe accidents. Those leaders know when to bring the business to a halt until business conditions improve.
Great leaders know how to create safe regions free of fog so that they introduce some confidence and hope in the hearts of their followers. They are the equivalent of rotating helicopter blades that warms the air below and temporarily removes the fog from the ground. Those leaders blow hot air of faith, hope, and confidence so that the team members may feel safe.
Great leaders realize that they should refrain from increasing the fog. Fog increases in polluted environments because water vapors condense on polluting particles and cause more fog. So are great leaders. They do not allow for pebbles of doubt to condense the fog of despair and make the work environment riskier. These leaders know what not to do and do not use the headlights to avoid their glare. Those leaders can sense what is unreal. Fog can create the optical illusion of driving slowly which may prompt them to drive faster. These leaders verify the signals they sense.
Out of the tension, creativity is born. Leaders know this and realize that foggy situations as much as they are risky they provide opportunities for breakthroughs. They have built-in road signs to keep them close to their purpose and mission. They are the light source for teams to feel safer.