One of the issues surrounding workplaces and the community is the increase in ambiguity.
I can recall my first role where “Able to manage ambiguity within the business” was in the position description. It was around the Y2K debacle. So … fairly appropriate. Few really knew what was going on or what was going to happen.
It the seemed that ambiguity was the word of the year and something to be proud of. Perhaps in some cases, for leaders in particular, it may be so. But if you want to to get the best from your team, I’d be counselling leaders to provide what certainty they can to those who do the actual work.
Here are some suggestions – there is no rocket science here. It is more a matter of doing the work rather than just acknowledging that this work could be done (but isn’t):
- create a weekly newsletter outlining the achievements of the past week and the plans for the coming week
- bring team members into the planning process. Allow them to communicate with their teams (no hush-hush meetings)
- provide clear and specific feedback regularly, both positive and constructive.
- maintain consistency – don’t be one person or type of leader one day and another the next. I had a leader who was like this and we’d message each other in the morning as to her mood! (I also have to admit that have been that leader! 😞)
Create Your Own Certainty
While this applies to us as leaders, it also applies to us within our functional role. What can we do to improve our own level of confidence as to what is happening?
- Read the weekly newsletter (!)- and in this case, ask questions, don’t read it passively. It won’t stick. If someone is called out for doing a good job, find out what they did and maybe send them a note of congrats.
- Reflect on your perforce of a task – what could you dod different/better next time? This is like feedback but within yourself.
- Research information that can bring clarity to your immediate role. Expanding your knowledge allows you to develop a broader context.
- Nothing is as bad or as good as it seems – maintain consistency within yourself. Learn not to panic or over react to adverse situations.
The more people are certain of their surroundings and immediate future, the more they can bring their full self to work. This means you are working together on the goal and less on trying to motivate or cajole people into improved performance.
If people are working in ambiguity unnecessarily, they can take actions (or inaction) that becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Not only does it affect them but also affects the team and the business.
Think of one or two things you can do today that might increase the certainty of those you work and interact with. This can be colleagues, peers, your leader and those you lead as well as friends and family.
Let me know in the comments how you do this. I’d be keen to know. Plus I get to steal all your good ideas! 😉
Have an awesome and clear day!