3 Tips To Lead Strong During Uncertain Times

“Stability breeds efficiency and complacency. Instability breeds resilience and innovation”

Given we are in a sustained period of instability, how as leaders do we dial up the resilience and innovation, without burning out ourselves or the teams we lead? How do we leverage the instability to build resilience and innovation that creates success in ourselves and our teams? In my twenty-five plus years of work I’ve seen stable and unstable times come and go. And, I’ve seen the patterns of those that come out stronger, and those that don’t. Here are three easy to implement lessons for breeding resilience and innovation in yourself and your team:

#1 What You Expose Yourself To Becomes Your Box: I was recently asked how I shifted my business and found success so quickly given the rug was pulled out from under me, like it was for so many. I told them that while many of my colleagues were still talking amongst themselves, I was fortunate enough to have been exposed to new people, new ideas and hence, new business models. Be intentional and make the effort to expose yourself and your team to different ideas and experiences. Doing this will automatically drive innovation. Their boxes will expand and change, and so will their ideas along with it.

#2 Recognize Your Lizard Brains Are Extra Active: In times of stress our primal lizard brain takes over. It’s what creates your fight, flight or freeze response and its main function is to keep you safe and comfortable, especially in uncertain times. The challenge is that the lizard brain shuts down your resilience, your drive to push through. It wants you to curl up in a small ball and wait it out. And while the lizard brain is hardwired into us, with a little effort, we can push past it to get to our higher functioning mind that helps us navigate change and disruption. It’s been my experience that doing something as simple as taking 3-breaths helps get us out of our reactive lizard brain and into our innovative and resilient brain. People that lead strong during uncertainty, don’t give in to the lizard brain, instead, they acknowledge and push through it.

#3 Stop Using The Word “They”: In tough times, it’s human nature to want to find something or someone to blame. “They don’t get it,” or “they are the reason I couldn’t get my task done,” or “if only they listened to me.” The word “they” actually creates a victim mindset and minimizes innovation. It’s hard to innovate when people don’t feel trust and connection. A colleague of mine, who has been an incredibly strong leader through 2020, told me that when she sees the word “they” popping up in her team, she shuts it down. In taking out that word, she discovered that people built a more accountable, resilient mindset. And, real connection and collaboration went up, igniting innovation. The key she said, “isn’t to make it punitive, but to help people overcome their blindspots and move forward together.”

Instability and uncertainty is definitely challenging, but it can also foster incredible new opportunities and paths to success for yourself, your team and your organization. I’d also encourage you to join me on Sunday, September 20th as I dig even further into how to ignite innovation, influence others and lead strong. This one-time live webinar will cover the 20% that will give you 80% of the innovation results you need to transform uncertainty into opportunity.



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Tamara Ghandour

Tamara Ghandour is the pioneering voice in the field of human-centered innovation, the creator of the IQE assessment, podcast host, and Crossfit addict