When you view change—especially the disruptive kind—through the eyes of Situational Leadership®, what you see is regression. Employees operating at moderate to high levels of Performance Readiness® for most of the tasks that constitute their contribution “move to the right.” Their ability to perform at a sustained and acceptable standard is challenged by emerging circumstances. For example, there can be any number of things that happen in an employee’s personal life that adversely impacts their work-related confidence, commitment or motivation. Effective leaders can play a significant role in empathetically redirecting the performance-related energy of people during those struggles.
How about when there’s systemic change (that literally no one was expecting) that adversely impacts everybody … immediately? Say, for instance, something like the coronavirus. The responses a calamity like that produces, almost instantly, are vast. At one end of the response continuum, you will find people that, despite every clear indicator to the contrary, adopt a position that, “All is well and nothing is happening.” At the other extreme, there are those who connect a series of hypothetical “worst-possible-case dots,” at a speed that defies anything remotely resembling logic. Frequently, these are the people that wind up in a state of unbridled panic which, unfortunately, can also be contagious—and very difficult to quarantine.
With those thoughts in mind and with history as an indicator, the one thing you can say with certainty about disruptive change is that it is an active incubator of sorts for leaders at all levels! Regardless of where people might find themselves on the continuum of response, in the midst of wide-spread uncertainty we all seek guidance; we all want answers; and we are all thrust into a set of circumstances where we wind up gravitating toward those who can instill or revitalize our willingness to take calculated action.
With bias duly noted, these are the circumstances where Situational Leaders thrive! When the dust settles (ever so slightly) and organizations begin to redirect their efforts, it will be a time for simplicity and execution! It will be a time for practical, common sense strategies to be thoughtfully implemented. To pull that off, you need leaders (especially in the trenches) that are prepared to adopt an approach (on a case-by-case basis) that produces results, minimizes panic and restores both fresh perspective and renewed momentum.
Further, and as odd as it may seem at the moment, consider there may be no time like the present to ensure the leaders in your organization are skillfully prepared to face the challenges that have become their reality. By any stretch of the imagination, what they are going through isn’t “normal.” Far from it! The environment we find ourselves in literally demands that we get creative in the here and now to figure out a path for leaders to learn and implement with confident proficiency.
In that regard, please color every single person at The Center for Leadership Studies “Ready … Willing … and Able” to help you and your team (in any way we can) to figure out the details of what that might look like.