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A paradox of great leadership is that to get control it's often best to give up a good portion of it. At the same time one must also recognize that in actuality we control very little of what happens to us. What we do control is our reaction to the unpredictable and unforeseen. Proper preparation helps and is critical to our success but in the end unintended consequences rule the day. Acknowledging the uncertainty of the next moment is a critical step toward enlightened leadership.
For many leaders giving up control is tantamount to abdicating responsibility and position. Many will articulate the opposite but their actions tell the true story-they do not want to give up any control. They feel compelled to make the decisions without tapping into the wisdom that often surrounds them. Creating an environment where team members speak freely is a hard line that separates the merely good from the great leader. Better information, better communication, better feedback, and honest opinions improve the odds for making a good decision. Making a good decision gives us more control over the uncertainty of the next moment. So why not do all we can to make a better decision? Ego, insecurity and/or a weak team are often the answer. These are obstacles to progress and the maximization of individual and collective potential.
As technology makes everyone's world less insular and more interdependent, exogenous variables disproportionately impact our day-to-day lives. There are so many variables that they inevitably collide with one another creating infinitely more uncertainty. Accepting this reality instead of resenting or fighting it leads to a healthier decision-making process and a healthier life in general. This uncertainty makes life more exciting, less predictable and us more nervous. However, avoiding this reality sets us up for failure. Spending time trying to find certainty where it is not muddies our vision and affects our judgment. We seek clarity. This means dealing with reality. Too many expend extraordinary effort trying to change reality rather than accepting it and then moving forward.
As leaders, we must learn to expect the unexpected and prepare ourselves intellectually and emotionally for the uncertainty that is certainly just around the corner. Our ability to be flexible, fluid and focused on this moment's reality will largely determine our success as a leader. A well-developed team that also gets this will largely determine the success of the organization.
Acknowledge the uncertainty of the next moment. Make it part of your company's culture. This is a key ingredient to thriving in today's marketplace.