A volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environment, is challenging for everyone. These times force us outside of our comfort zones and drastically change our priorities, both personally and professionally. In order to encourage teamwork, support a positive company culture, and maintain client relationships, it is imperative we demonstrate our character. Here a few small ways you can do so every day to make difficult situations easier for everyone, including yourself:
1. Enrich Others
In the midst of our day-to-day lives in an uncertain and even volatile world, we need to pause to consider how we can take a few moments on a regular basis to demonstrate our care for those with whom we have frequent contact. A smile, a word of affirmation, a note or encouragement or the recognition of one’s contribution can go a long way making a person feel valued. Further, we can also encourage other to these things for others. By doing so, we demonstrate the quality of our character as we make those extra efforts for others. All of us, and leaders in particular, carry the responsibility of working to enrich lives, capabilities and relationship of those under our care.
2. Contribute, Even If It's Something Small
In most situations, we have a choice whether to contribute or not. We will almost always contribute when we’re excited about a project, but when the project or activity is more exciting to someone else, then our own motivation to contribute may not be as high. We may mask it by saying, “I have nothing to add,” or “I’m not interested in this.”
When we choose not to contribute, others can be more easily discouraged, or end up feeling like they have to “go it alone” when they hoped for our involvement. This is often exacerbated in trying and stressful times. Therefore, every time we choose to be involved and supportive of others, we should be intentional about contributing in a way that is considered meaningful. We may not always be able to contribute something tangible, such as a skill or a resource, but we can certainly contribute the more intangible things like enthusiasm, interest, and engagement
By choosing to engage and support the projects and initiatives of others we place value on the work of other and demonstrate a culture of care and consideration which ultimately makes us stronger.
3. Take Initiative
Initiative is one of the most highly valued qualities within an organization because it gives that organization resources which it did not otherwise realize were available. When we demonstrate initiative in times of VUCA we show that we understand what is important, what’s happening, and why it’s being done. Initiative is our way of saying that we are not only willing to be part of the outcome, but we’re also willing to make the outcome better. We’re willing to do all we can to improve the situation, to think beyond what we’ve been asked to do, and add true value as a result of bringing our own skill and thoughtfulness to the issue.
4. Offer a Smile
It seems difficult to believe that something as simple as a smile would have the impact that it does. However, when we smile we indicate that we are comfortable with the present circumstances, and this puts others at ease as well. We allow them to relax knowing that we are relaxed. Relaxed people are better able to bring their best selves and their best ideas to any project, which is critical in a VUCA environment.
5. Be Inclusive
Individual uniqueness is something to be valued. Uniqueness brings differences in perspectives, different suggestions, and alternate approaches, which are highly valuable during times of change and uncertainty. These different ideas and perspectives can enhance outcomes or accelerate results. Therefore, we should actively seek input and points of view different from our own and aggressively strive to overcome personal reservations that keep us from being truly inclusive. It will always result in a better outcome.
Volitile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous times are difficult for everyone. By being inclusive, offering a friendly smile, taking initiative, contributing and choosing to enrich the lives of those with whom we lead or rub shoulders with, we actively make a positive difference in the lives of other, which is vitally necessary in a VUCA environment.