Managing Uncertainty With Strong Leadership

Over the past year, businesses have learned a considerable amount. Their operations, adaptability, and risk assessments have been tested extensively, as each company sought to overcome the impact of an international health crisis. Perhaps the most significant, and ubiquitous, change has been that of remote working, leading to a greater necessity for trust within the workplace, empowering and allowing employees to perform their work wherever they are.

As we now transition to a post-pandemic world, businesses are treading lightly, remaining cautious with their budgets and minimising risk. One area that is receiving significant attention, however, is management and leadership. Those who hadn’t already established strong leadership soon learned that, in times of crisis, people look to their leaders for guidance. As a result, businesses affirmed that in order to make themselves resilient against any such challenges in future, the leaders must be prepared.

The need to reflect on operational challenges, as well as discuss the importance of admirable leadership, is partly what motivated People Group Services to return to their Learning From Leaders series. Each episode sets out to gain insight into the realm of recruitment, discussing pertinent topics with leading figures across the industry.

In their most recent episode, Ross Eades, CEO of Red, emphasises the importance now placed upon trust, especially within recruitment. “You go into uncertain times and people look at the leadership. They want to make sure that whoever is leading the business has the capability, the expertise, the knowledge, and do they trust that person?” Eades notes, then adding, “You have got to have the trust to get the buy-in.”

One trend among leaders that has become widely celebrated during widespread teleworking operations is a hands-off approach that is coupled with strict expectations. “Define the task tightly,” Eades says, “so it’s very clear what things we have to do. Then, give people the autonomy, the empowerment, the ability, the tools, to make that opportunity their own.”

This direction has proven advantageous among many businesses over the past year, contributing to mutual trust among leaders and employees. It does also require certain facilities that, as we each begin to navigate new ground, are required without judgement. “Make sure you’ve got safety nets to catch [employees] should they fall flat,” Eades notes, touching upon the importance of understanding and foresight among managers.

There are, of course, a number of leadership styles that benefit different businesses and situations. However, to ensure that the appropriate styles are enacted, leaders must be giving the training and the ability to choose wisely. Eades tells that, at Red, “We really took the approach of getting back down to basics. And to have that togetherness, so that nobody felt like they were out on a limb.”

While predictive expertise has been undermined with recent events, adaptability and robustness have taken the spotlight instead. Businesses are turning away from estimations and projections, turning instead to resilience and foundations, two qualities that can, and should, be exemplified by leaders at every level.

Sophie Green: Sophie's blog focuses on e-commerce strategies and trends. Her background as an e-commerce entrepreneur informs her insightful posts.

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