We celebrate freedom in the US. Yet in our VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) World, we are not free of ambiguity. We crave certainty, clarity, directness (some personalities and cultures more than others). Stepping into leadership, as a leader or a coach, requires increasing tolerance for and skills with dealing with ambiguity (Ambiguity= murky, foggy, unclear).
In last week’s blog I introduced an acronym for DIRECT (Communication) that starts with “Deals with Ambiguity.”
Imagine your organization is in the process of merging with another organization. Or is downsizing. Or the new CEO has announced an upcoming reorganization. Productivity and profitability need to stay in place, while expectations are in flux and employees (maybe even you!) are unsure of whether they will retain their position.
Anxiety runs high (maybe even yours!) It is literally hard to think clearly and make good decisions because when we are living in fear, our amygdala (part of our brain) has been “hijacked”. Our bodies get the message it is time for fight or flight and we feel our heart racing, our stomach or shoulders clenched, sweat forming on our brow.
Others are looking to us-the leader, coach, facilitator, trainer for clear answers, and we do not have them!
What to do?
How do we directly communicate while immersed in ambiguity?
The “fog” of ambiguity both makes us uncomfortable and opens the door for dramatic shifts, creativity and new ways of thinking that lead to giant steps forward.
Marilyn O'Hearne is a Master Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation. Marilyn's coaching clients report breakthrough increased PEP (Performance, Effectiveness, and Profitability, and/or Peace, Energy, and Prosperity). For 30+ years, she has facilitated development through coaching, counseling, training, writing (Renewing Your Spirit workbook, etc); teaching at universities, ILCT, and in Brazil. Marilyn’s gentle strength ("the Velvet Hammer") provides a secure foundation while challenging clients (primarily leaders and those in transition) to be their best. Visit her website for more information.