How to Lead Through Uncertain Times: Strategies for Managing and Motivating Your Team

Navigating a time of uncertainty can be a challenge, especially if you’re responsible for leading a team. With so much up in the air and change happening quickly, it’s important to stay focused, stay positive, and remain empathetic as you guide your team.

As leaders, it’s our job to provide direction and inspiration amidst the ambiguity. We can’t be afraid to take risks or make difficult decisions–but we also need to remember that our decisions have consequences. The way we lead today will shape the future of our teams and our organizations.

In this article, I’d like to share some strategies for managing and motivating your team through times of uncertainty. We’ll cover the basics of leading through change, how to handle stress and difficult situations together with your team, how to stay inspired during these times, and what resources you can use for support.

Understanding Change — Looking at the Big Picture

The first step in leading your team through uncertain times is understanding change. Being able to look at the big picture and identify the larger trends can help you better manage and motivate your team.

Think about it this way: when you look at a map, you don’t just see a bunch of roads, but the bigger trends that make up the landscape—the highways that connect different cities, the regional economic clusters, etc. By understanding these larger trends, you can plan for what’s coming next and know where to direct your team’s efforts.

The same is true when managing your team during uncertain times: by understanding how changes in the marketplace affect your business, you can develop strategies to keep them focused on the big picture while helping them stay agile in their approach to the day-to-day work. Additionally, when it comes to motivation—especially over a longer period of time—being able to point out how their contributions fit into the bigger scheme will go a long way in keeping them committed and engaged.

Communicating Your Vision and Making Connections

In times of uncertainty, it is important to communicate a clear vision to your team and help them stay focused on reaching the goal. This can be done through regular check-ins and meetings where you take the time to talk about how their individual efforts are contributing to the overall vision. Taking time to recognize individual contributions can help motivate your team and create a positive, collaborative atmosphere.

Additionally, try to make connections with your team on a personal level by getting to know them and understanding what drives them. This kind of connection will help build trust and make them more invested in working toward the long-term goal. When leading through uncertain times, it’s important to take an active role in motivating and engaging your team so that everyone has a shared sense of purpose.

Adapting to Unpredictability and Setting Boundaries

Now let’s talk about how to lead through unpredictable times. It can be hard to adjust to changing conditions, but try to remain flexible and open-minded. Your team will appreciate your willingness to try new approaches if things don’t go as expected.

It’s important to set boundaries, too. You’ll want to establish parameters for how much change is acceptable and communicate this clearly with your team members so they know what’s expected of them in uncertain times.

For example, you might decide that you will only make changes that are within your control or that you can realistically manage without overloading yourself or your team. This can help ensure that everyone remains productive and focused on the tasks at hand, instead of chasing after solutions that are out of reach.

You should also provide clear guidelines for when team members should seek approval for proposed changes, or when the team should take a step back and re-evaluate certain decisions. By setting these kinds of parameters in advance, your team will better understand the limits and be more prepared to handle uncertainty when it strikes.

Developing Resilience — Supporting Your Team Through Stressful Periods

No-one likes to be in a stressful situation, so if your team is feeling the strain, how can you help build resilience?

Open Communication

Open communication is the foundation of a resilient team. Make yourself available to listen to your team members and encourage honest dialog. Provide opportunities for feedback that are safe and non-judgmental. Leaders should stay attuned with team members’ feelings to ensure there is a sense of psychological safety and that their messaging resonates.

Keeping Morale High

Giving regular praise and thanks will help to keep your team’s morale up during times of uncertainty. It’s also important to encourage them to take breaks, take time off when needed, and practice self-care. By doing this you will show your team that you are aware of their mental health concerns and that you care about them as human beings.

To foster a resilient team during times of change, try these strategies:

Make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to goals by regularly discussing progress toward objectives.

Celebrate successes together—even small wins will make a difference!

Encourage cross-team collaboration so that each person feels they have input into decisions being made and tasks being assigned.

Offer training opportunities so everyone can continue developing as individuals, even in times of uncertainty or stress.

Reassessing Your Approach — Constantly Reflecting on Results

Leading in times of change and uncertainty takes more than just having a plan. It requires being adaptive, flexible and constantly reassessing your approach. It’s important to constantly reflect on the results of your efforts to ensure you’re on the right track and to identify any challenges or opportunities that may arise.

Here are some key strategies for reassessing your approach:

Identify areas where improvement is needed — Regularly assess current processes, systems and procedures to pinpoint areas that need improvement or additional resources, such as training for employees.

Monitor performance indicators — Track key performance indicators that reflect how well your team is performing. This allows you to adjust strategies if those indicators are not meeting targets or expectations.

Course-correct — Use data and feedback to course-correct when needed, pivoting strategies if progress isn’t being made in a particular area or if there is a change in the market or environment.

Adaptability — When there are shifts, be ready to adjust plans quickly by having the resources available and understanding how best to respond with agility to changes in the external environment.

Establish feedback loops — Gather feedback from employees regularly on their experiences leading up to and through the transition, as well as their thoughts on procedures going forward so they feel heard and valued by management.

By using these strategies, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions as you lead through times of uncertainty, which will ultimately lead to a stronger team and organization overall in the long run!

Staying Motivated in Times of Change — Encouraging Collaboration

These days, it’s pretty easy to stay motivated. But what about when times get tough? How do you keep your team motivated when all the uncertainty can lead to feeling down and unmotivated?

The answer is collaboration. Working together on difficult tasks can be hugely beneficial for everyone involved, helping them feel connected and engaged with the task at hand. There are plenty of strategies for encouraging collaboration, like:

Building a culture of trust and transparency. This means creating an environment where it’s safe to ask questions, share ideas, and do their best work without fear or judgment.

Creating opportunities for team building activities to help build relationships among team members and facilitate creative thinking.

Encouraging open feedback loops to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard and valued.

Hosting virtual meetings so that members can chat face-to-face even if they’re not in the same room, which helps with building camaraderie and boosting morale.

Fostering a sense of ownership for projects, so everyone feels like an important part of accomplishing the goal at hand rather than just a cog in the machine.

By encouraging collaboration among your team members, you’ll help them stay motivated even during difficult times, leading to greater productivity and overall success!

In an uncertain world, leaders need to stay grounded and remain focused on the bigger strategic goals. The key is to balance your team’s uncertainty with clear and well thought-out strategies and plans.

Leaders should advocate for their team, show genuine care, and build trust. Create a safe environment where team members can collaborate, share ideas, and work on bleeding edge technologies. Create a culture of experimentation and encourage failure in order to drive innovation. Finally, use data to measure employee engagement and satisfaction, so you can identify and address any issues early.

Leading through uncertainty is a daunting challenge, but if you put the needs of your team first, you can come out on top. By adapting your leadership style and strategies to fit the situation, you’ll be able to create a culture of support and success. With the right approach, you and your team can power through uncertain times and come out on the other side a stronger, more resilient team.

Super employees maintain a positive influence

The Chief HR officer (CHR) role in the company is a standalone function. The position does not have anyone directly reporting to her at the central or corporate level.

However, two HR managers are looking after the human resource operations of the three companies in the group. We also have a compensation and benefits function looking after the payroll of all employees.

Even though our CHR person does not have a direct line employee reporting to her, she still manages to get her assignments done. More so, if the work requires cooperation from other functions in the company. I was discerning her a few times as she took on new tasks.

She manages to get things done through others because she positively influences the people around her. It’s her influence on others. The following set of behaviors surfaces with her.

1. Humility. She is never rude or disrespectful when dealing with others.

2: Curious. She will ask questions about her assignment regardless of how it makes her look.

3. Inclusive. She makes sure that all relevant stakeholders are part of the discussion.

4. Helpful. When she notices someone struggling with an assignment, she is quick to lend a helping hand.

These are four simple behaviors I have noticed with our CHR that provide electricity for her magnet of influence in the company. She can get things done regardless of how big or small the challenge is.

How about you? How is your influence on your workmates? How strong is your influence in your organization?

A Wonderful Workplace

Almost every day, I am reminded of how God has blessed me by placing me in PIMS. Cathy, the Executive Chair and owner, is such a great leader and person. She gives people the opportunity to grow. For her, having a family culture in the company is something that is taken very seriously. Family culture is at the core of everything we do.

Cathy reaches out personally and encourages her team members that are sick. She encourages them through scriptures that she shares. She makes it a point to check on them every day.

She would even go so far as to give struggling employees a second, third, fourth chance. In addition, she welcomes back former employees that have left her nest. In the last few months, I have witnessed great employees that left years ago come back to the company.

Cathy encourages leaders with Bible scriptures in group chats regularly. However, openly sharing scripture is not very common, especially coming from the highest executive in a company. Because of this example, other leaders openly share scripture in group gatherings and group chats. It is the norm rather than the exception.

The leadership team also lives this family culture. They are true servant leaders. There is not a single trace of arrogance in them. Everyone is treated fairly. Respect for each other is also the norm. The resulting performance in delivering the KPIs set by our clients is next to phenomenal. Commitments are executed on or before time. Productivity is very high.

People from different departments rally together to help solve an issue. Everyone is given equal opportunity to attend training. Development and succession planning is taken very seriously as well. The leadership team fully supports the execution of world-class frameworks, such as the 9box grid and balanced scorecards. It’s so supported that we rolled out the 9box grid in less than eight weeks for nearly 800 employees.

At the center of the culture-building is where I am seated. The function is aptly called the Corporate Management Office or CMO. I am genuinely grateful for the opportunity to help bring culture building, people development, preparing future leaders, automating processes, developing existing and new businesses to the next level.

Leading the shared services and business development is such a blessing. I am surrounded by a great team whose heart is to bring the group of companies to the next level.

This Tagalog term I recently heard resonated with me from a good friend of mine when I shared my experience with her – ‘Sana lahat.’ In English, this loosely translates to ‘I hope all companies are like yours.’

Let’s count our blessings instead of our challenges. Then, make a positive difference in our company.