Leading Through Uncertainty and Disruption Part 3

How to become a leader worth trusting and worth following, especially during times of uncertainty and disruption.

In Part 1 & Part 2 of this series, we learned that leaders are responsible to help others move forward during times of uncertainty. We learned that during times of disruption, people are looking to real leaders for direction and hope. If people do not sense you are a good leader during times of uncertainty, you will lose any influence you had.

We also learned that uncertainty is a permanent part of life and God uses uncertainty to grow us through adversity, and to shape us, and to mold us into people of proven character.

This three-part series on Leading Through Uncertainty and Disruption was inspired and led by Pastor Andy Stanley from YourMove.is. We highly recommend you watch all four of Pastor Stanley's videos on "Leading Through Uncertainty and Disruption."

“Through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 3-5

Uncertainty is why the world needs good leaders and that is why your family and friends and your employees are looking to leaders during times of uncertainty.

ALL Good Leaders in Times of Disruption Do These 3 Things

Maintain Moral Authority - As a leader your credibility is everything and your words and actions must be aligned. In essence, to be a good leader during times of uncertainty you must walk the walk, or your influence is dead and gone. During times of uncertainty, influence is everything.

Maintain Clarity - Be clear no matter what. To be clear is a leader must be honest at the very least. Any hint of dishonesty from a leader will erode any credibility he or she thought they had. Nothing chases trust and credibility away faster than a leader who misleads followers.

Maintain Humanity - Good leaders are real, they are empathetic, and they are understanding in times of uncertainty and disruption. Good leaders demonstrate their love for other people, especially in times of disruption.

Good leaders demonstrate their love and affection for those they lead by demonstrating empathy and understanding and grace and mercy. People struggle during times of uncertainty and good leaders know how to listen.

"Right now people are looking for good leadership. They want to experience a leader’s love, appreciation, and gratitude in ways that honor them and everyone else."

When I am convinced you know how I feel, that you really care, and that you truly know me, I will be far more open to your influence, especially when you are asking me to follow you into the unknown.

"Basically, when I know how much you care about me and others, I will become open to hearing what you have to offer."

When I am convinced that you care, and that you know my worries and my concerns, and when I am convinced you also know my dreams and my fears, and I am convinced you care about me, personally, then I am much more willing to follow you as a leader, especially during times of uncertainty.

If you are ASKING or EXPECTING anyone to follow you into the unknown, especially during uncertain times, then they need to know “for certain” that you care about them. During uncertain times there can be no doubt!

As a leader, when you know things are going to get tough, you must lead. Lead in such a way as let those who follow you know you have their back. They need to know that when push comes to shove, you’ll be there and that you, as their leader, always have their best interest in mind. As a good leader, you need to assure your followers that you’ll be there to support them all the way through.

Please, whatever you do as a leader in uncertain times, do not ignore or downplay or dismiss the concerns of your followers. If you brush off their concerns, or if you criticize your followers BECAUSE they have concerns (real fears), then you will lose them and you won’t ever recover.

"If you brush off or dismiss real concerns and fail to listen, your leadership will be dead before it starts."

If you, as a leader are unaware or unconcerned about how your follower’s real sense of uncertainty, then they will stop following you. Worse yet, your followers will begin to actively resist you and be happy to see your demise.

And why wouldn’t they resist you? Why would they continue to follow you if you’ve demonstrated you don’t care about them, or worse yet, you’ve dismissed their concerns as being irrelevant to the mission? If that happens, the mission as you know it is over anyway.

How Much Do You Care?

Use common sense when leading others. If they know you care, you’ll improve your chance of positively influencing the people you lead. If you do not listen, or they feel as though you DON’T care about their concerns why would they continue to follow you or be concerned about your mission?

However, when true leaders authentically legitimize the concerns and worries of their followers, leaders have influence. They have influence because they listened to the concerns of the followers as if they mattered as if they are real people with valid feelings and needs.

Meaning, people might follow a leader even during uncertain times IF THEY KNOW YOU CARE. The moment you no longer care, they are gone, especially during times of uncertainty, which is to be expected.

It’s true when leaders gloss over the legitimate concerns of their followers, the followers fade, as they should. And even worse, when leaders criticize their followers for having concerns (for being human), they should know they’ve lost their leadership and they won’t be getting it back.

When leaders fail to understand how the current reality (uncertainty and disruption) is affecting their followers, the followers will scatter. During times of uncertainty, selfish and clueless leaders will lose their authority and trust, and as a result, they lose their influence and become useless as leaders.

“For me to follow you, you have to convince me that you GET ME and that you CARE ABOUT ME, and you CARE ABOUT WHAT I CARE ABOUT!”

Good leaders are like good shepherds. Shepherding, for this discussion, is an essential function of leadership during times of uncertainty. People are looking to their leaders for direction, Good shepherding, or good leadership, is providing protection, security, and reassurance to the followers.

It’s inherent in human nature to seek clarity during times of crisis and uncertainty and disruption, and it’s totally normal for people to look to their leaders for reassurance. The question is, as a leader what are you demonstrating to your followers? Genuine love and concern? Or, do you view yourself and your mission as being more important than people?

Seriously, think about your priorities as a leader. Is your priority “the people” of your mission, or is “the mission” itself your priority, even over that of people? What is your higher priority? Meaning, is your mission more important than the people, or are the people above your mission? Who is your mission for? Does God love “people” or “missions”?

If you lead in any capacity, leading through uncertainty requires leaders to also be good shepherds. Meaning, leaders must know how to love people RIGHT WHERE THEY ARE! Leaders are responsible for those they lead, so lead them JUST THEY WAY THEY ARE!

“The more people know you care about them, the more influence they will allow you to exercise in their lives.”

Great leaders always seem to know what needs to be done, and they just do it. They don’t wait around to be told what to do. Great leaders under stress turn to people. Great leaders elevate people during crises, and they don’t hide behind the crises or the uncertainty.

Great leaders are never too busy to lead their followers through uncertain times, and great leaders make the time for their followers. Great leaders instinctively know to pour themselves out to their followers during uncertain times.

Poor leaders will isolate themselves during uncertainty and retreat to hide behind “busyness” and blame others for their shortcomings leaving their followers to fend for themselves. Uncertainty creates chaos which is why people naturally look to leaders during times of disruption. Great leaders lead people, poor leaders drive missions.

Your followers need reassurance during times of uncertainty. And if you, as their leader can show up for them right by their side ready to serve, they will follow you, especially when they know you care about them personally.

They will be grateful and appreciate you for all that you've done. They will follow you even when it gets tough because they know you stepped out of your comfort zone and you actually cared for them when they needed you the most.

Leading Through • Part 4 | "Leading with Empathy"