Skip to main content

How To Lead During Uncertain Times

Uncertainty is the new normal. Learning how to effectively lead during uncertainty is the new requirement. Thankfully, Larry Robertson’s new book, Rebel Leadership, teaches you how to thrive in uncertain times – times that are volatile, complex and ambiguous. 

“There are two big realities we must understand,” explains Robertson. “Both are vitally necessary to the long-term survival and success of any organization.” 

“The first is to accept the landscape for what it is today—to see it not as distant and unlikely to affect you, nor as temporary or episodic.” 

“The second is to concede that the way most of us have reviewed leadership in the past, and the assumptions we’ve made about what makes it work, have passed their expiration dates and must change.” 

In Rebel Leadership, Robertson presents thought-provoking, actionable, refreshingly new ways to lead during turbulent times. The concept of rebel leadership is a “cultural mindset,” explains Robertson, and his shared insights in the book are deeply rooted in what works in actual practice. 

From over 300 in-depth interviews with some of the most creative and successful leaders, researchers and entrepreneurs across the globe, Robertson captured the five patterns that rebel leaders use to describe what really matters: 

  1. Let Them Laugh, Soul Matters Most
  2. Leadership Moves
  3. It’s the Culture, Stupid
  4. Your Power Source is Your Superpower
  5. The Long View Matters – Right Now 

Please read the book to learn the meaning and power behind each of the five patterns. 

Larry Robertson

Today, Robertson shares these additional insights with us: 

Question: Why did you write the book? 

Robertson: For as many leadership books and best practices as there are, few address leadership in the context of today. The world we live in is now more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous than at any time of our modern history – and it is increasingly so not periodically or episodically, but all the time. In such a world, leadership can’t take the forms it traditionally has. I wrote this book to explore more deeply how we can lead effectively in the challenging landscape that has become our “new abnormal.” 

Question: In a sentence or two, what is rebel leadership about? What is it not about?

Robertson: The leadership most of us have been taught is no longer “fit for purpose” in an uncertain world. Rebel leadership is about matching “how we lead” to fit the environment of this wobbly new century. 

Rebel leadership is not, however, about a static, formulaic, or recipe-driven approach to leading. It’s better thought of as providing a flexible framework, one that if used collectively and as a matter of habit, can cultivate not just better leaders, but cultures of leadership. 

Question: Of the five patterns, which is the most important and why? 

Robertson: What’s most important isn’t any one of the five patterns, but instead realizing that the patterns are at their most powerful in combination with each other. 

Just by looking at the five patterns you begin to see their interconnection:

  • Soul matters most;
  • Leadership moves;
  • It's the culture, stupid;
  • Your power source is your superpower; and
  • The long view matters – right now.

Rebel leadership isn’t a checklist of things that will help you succeed where the object is to check off as many of them as possible. It’s about creating a mindset ongoing, one understood and shaped through the framework that these five patterns together form. 

Question: After reading the book, what couple action items do you recommend leaders take? 

Robertson: First, accept that this new abnormal in which we all now live and work is our new reality, and that within it, adaptability – ongoing and collectively pursued – is our chief competitive advantage. 

Second, make the time to read this book, and frankly to read. Rebel Leadership is built to be compact, action-oriented, and quick moving. Reading remains one of the most powerful and accessible tools leaders have available to them, and time spent reading and reflecting will affect you more than virtually any other tool or technique you could practice. 

Finally, right now, today, let go of the hero story of leadership – the solo journey, the single person source of ideas and answers, the leader-as-hero who will save us all – and realize that succeeding, not just once but repeatedly, is a collective act. 

Thank you to the book’s publisher for sending me an advance copy of the book.


Popular posts from this blog

Effective Listening: Do's And Don'ts

Here are some great tips from Michelle Tillis Lederman's book, The 11 Laws of Likability .  They are all about: what to do and what not to do to be a leader who's an effective listener : Do : Maintain eye contact Limit your talking Focus on the speaker Ask questions Manage your emotions Listen with your eyes and ears Listen for ideas and opportunities Remain open to the conversation Confirm understanding, paraphrase Give nonverbal messages that you are listening (nod, smile) Ignore distractions Don't : Interrupt Show signs of impatience Judge or argue mentally Multitask during a conversation Project your ideas Think about what to say next Have expectations or preconceived ideas Become defensive or assume you are being attacked Use condescending, aggressive, or closed body language Listen with biases or closed to new ideas Jump to conclusions or finish someone's sentences

How To Lead An Empowered Workforce

The new book, The Empathy Advantage , speaks to anyone with responsibility for recruiting, engaging, leading and retaining the next generation of workers – a workforce shaped by the pandemic that fundamentally transformed the relationship between individuals and organizations.   Not surprising, managers at every level are struggling to adapt to this new dynamic, balancing both employee satisfaction and corporate productivity. Quiet Quitting, Great Resignation, and Great Reset have all become code words to describe the trendlines that have been building for years. Accelerated change driven by exponentially advancing technologies have made steep learning curves part of every day work.   Fortunately, book authors Heather C. McGowan and Chris Shipley , unpack the five interlocking trends that placed agency in the hands of workers:   The Great Resignation The Great Refusal The Great Reshuffle The Great Retirement The Great Relocation   …collectively delivering the Gr

The Four Components That Create Customer Satisfaction

Great customer service tips from author Micah Solomon's new book, High-tech, High-touch Customer Service : You provide value when you deliver the four components that reliably create customer satisfaction : A perfect product or service Delivered in a caring, friendly manner On time (as defined by the customer) With the backing of an effective problem-resolution process Micah has been named by the Financial Post as “a new guru of customer service excellence.” He is a keynote speaker and consultant on customer service issues, the customer experience, and company culture.  He previously coauthored the bestselling Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit .      

How Leaders Use Four Workarounds To Tackle Complex Problems

  “Workarounds are effective, versatile, and accessible methods for tackling complex problems,” shares the author of the new book, The Four Workarounds . “They are a creative, flexible, imperfection-loving, problem-solving approach. A method that ignores or even challenges conventions on how, and by whom a problem is meant to be solved.”   In Part 1 of this fascinating and instructional book, author and Oxford University professor, Paulo Savaget , explains what workarounds are and how to come up with them. And, then in Part 2, he digs into how to cultivate a workaround attitude and mindset, including how to reflect on the ways you typically see, judge, and approach obstacles.   “I also show you how you can systematically conceive workarounds to your problems and how your workplace can become more workaround friendly,” adds Savaget.   You’ll read intriguing and revealing stories of how some of the largest and scrappiest companies and organizations used one or more of the four workaround

How To Use The MOVE Framework To Be A More Effective Leader

  In their new book, Real-Time Leadership , leadership coaches David Noble and Carol Kauffman teach leaders how to use their unique MOVE framework to help leaders adjust their reflexive reactions and optimize their responses to any situation – including unexpected and complex leadership challenges.   The MOVE framework includes these four key elements :   M : Be Mindfully Alert . Attune yourself to the three essential dimensions of leadership: what you want or need to achieve, who you want to be as a leader, and how to help unlock others’ potential.   O : Generate Options . Identify at least four pathways forward by making decisions as each challenge requires, from slow and pensive, to whip fast.   V : Validate Your Vantage Point . Choose the best reality-based point of view – even if it wasn’t your own or initial thought. Leaders can be prone to missteps if they’re unclear on their perspective.   E : Engage and Effect Change . Do this first as an individual, then at scale – or all

Good Sample Business Principles

I really like these 10 guiding business principles that San Antonio, TX headquartered insurance company  USAA  lives by: Exceed customer expectations Live the Golden Rule (treat others with courtesy and respect) Be a leader Participate and contribute Pursue excellence Work as a team Share knowledge Keep it simple (make it easy for customers to do business with us and for us to work together) Listen and communicate Have fun Too many companies don't make it simple for their customers to do business with them.  Is it easy for your customers to: Buy from you? Make returns? Get pricing and terms? Receive timely responses to their e-mails? Quickly get answers when phoning your company? You can find more examples of companies with impressive guiding principles in the book, 1001 Ways To Energize Employees .

6 Ways To Seek Feedback To Improve Your Performance In The Workplace

Getting feedback is an important way to improve performance at work. But sometimes, it can be hard to seek out, and even harder to hear.  “Feedback is all around you. Your job is to find it, both through asking directly and observing it,” says David L. Van Rooy, author of the new book,  Trajectory: 7 Career Strategies to Take You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be . As today's guest post, Van Rooy offers these  six tips for how to get the feedback you need to improve performance at work . Guest Post By David L. Van Rooy 1.       Don’t forget to as k :  One of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming things are going perfectly (until they make a catastrophic mistake). By not asking, you’re missing out on opportunities for deep feedback: the difficult, critical feedback that gives you constructive ways to improve. 2.       Make sure you listen :  Remember, getting feedback is about improving your performance, not turning it into a “you versus the

Seven Ways To Delight Your Customers

If you want to delight your customers, then the book by  Steve Curtin ,  Delight Your Customers -- 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary , is a must-read for you and your employees. The book explains the  seven ways  for you and your employees to demonstrate  exceptional customer service : Express genuine interest Offer sincere and specific compliments Share unique knowledge Convey authentic enthusiasm Use appropriate humor Provide pleasant surprises Deliver service heroics "Exceptional customer service typically costs no more to deliver than poor customer service," explains Curtin. For example: How much does it cost to express genuine interest in customers or to anticipate their needs? Does it cost more to display a sense of urgency or to pay attention to detail? Do you pay your employees more to smile, to make eye contact, or to add energy to their voices? Curtin reminds readers that: Customers don't establish relationships with bus

When Leaders Should Coach And When To Counsel

A good manager is both a  coach  and a  counselor .  Generally, coaching should precede counseling. As a coach ,   a manager: identifies an employee's need for instruction and direction and this need is usually directly related to his or her performance or career goals. Coaching is collaborative. It relies on mutual, progressive goal-setting, personal feedback, and an ongoing, supportive relationship. You coach to help retain employees and to show you care about your employees as individuals. It's best to coach when a new procedure is introduced, a job is changed, and/or a skill gap is identified. As a counselor , a manager first identifies a problem that interferes with an employee's work performance and then helps the employee to define specifically what behavior he or she needs to change in order to improve his or her performance or resolve a problem. So, the difference between coach and counselor is subtle, but important. And, as Sharon Armstrong further shares in her b

How Women In Corporate Leadership Are Rewriting The Rules For Success

  “We are living through a moment in history when the old definitions of success and what it takes to lead are giving way to something that is altogether more collaborative and more inclusive,” says Jenna C. Fisher , author of the new book, To The Top: How Women In Corporate Leadership Are Rewriting The Rules For Success .  “We are seeing a demand for leaders who cultivate a kind of compassionate command,” adds Fisher.  In her book, Fisher outlines how collectively we can permanently build a more inclusive way of working into corporate culture to launch more women to the highest echelons of business. Her approach puts the onus on organizations, not on the individual, to change and keep women on a sustained path to success.  In the United States, women account for 51% of the population and 70% of high school valedictorians. Yet, only 9% of the largest 100 companies in the S&P500 index are led by women, shares Fisher.  Combining cutting-edge research with the stories of power